Charles Schumer | Chuck Hagel | Iran | Iraq | Israel | James Hormel | Joe Lieberman | News | Republican Party

Senators Not Keen On Hagel For Defense Secretary: VIDEO


Former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel cleaned up one political headache, kind of, by apologizing for comments he made in 1998 about Ambassador James Hormel being "aggressively gay."

Hormel has accepted the apology, though does point out it most likely came to clear a path for President Obama to nominate Hagel to be the next Defense Secretary. "While the timing appears self-serving, the words themselves are unequivocal--they are a clear apology," Hormel wrote. 

But there's still the pesky problem of Republicans who oppose Hagel for opposing the surge in Iraq, his votes and comments about Israel and his resistance to sanctions on Iran. If Sen. Lindsey Graham's remarks this morning are any indication, that GOP problem isn't going away anytime soon.

"The Republicans are going to ask him hard questions, and I don’t think he’s going to get many Republican votes," Graham said on Meet the Press. "His positions -- I didn’t really, quite frankly, know all of them -- are really out of the mainstream and well to the left of the president. I think it would be a challenging nomination." Asked if he would support Hagel, Graham said he's going to wait until the nomination hearings. Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer was also asked, but said he's standing by until an actual nomination has been put forth.

Meanwhile, independent Sen. Joe Lieberman used similar language on CNN's State of the Union, telling host Candy Crowley, "...If I were in the Senate on the Armed Services Committee and he was nominated, I would have some really serious questions to ask him, not just about Israel, but to me, the most significant foreign policy challenge for President Obama and our country and the world in the next year or two is Iran and it's nuclear weapons program. Chuck Hagel has had some very outlying votes on that."

Watch Graham, Schumer and Lieberman discuss Hagel's odds AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. All he is saying is that the US shouldn't always blindly support Israel and that they sometimes do sh1tty things to the Palestinians. Like their stupid buildup of unnecessary settlements. He is absolutely correct about that part, no matter his other comments. That he is getting crucified over that just reflects badly on the TeaTaliban.

    Posted by: Steve | Dec 23, 2012 4:13:04 PM

  2. I'd say opposition from the likes of Lieberman or Graham is a badge of honor.

    Posted by: K in VA | Dec 23, 2012 4:40:06 PM

  3. I don't know anything about this guy. I intentionally stay out of the media's influence. If it is true that in 1998 he said one negative and incorrect thing a gay man, and he has not had any other incidents of homophobia, then let it go. In 1998, there was more antimosity against GLBT people. If what he says it true, that he understands GLBT issues better, then isn't that what we want? Even most GLBT can say the same thing about their evalution to understanding themselves and the issues better. How may of us have believed in or said in 1998 that we regret today? If he's not right for the job, fine. Don't use this miniscule episode to demonize him.

    Posted by: Jim | Dec 23, 2012 4:42:19 PM

  4. Sen. Joe Lieberman won't be in the Senate if it comes to a vote so his input is irrelevant.

    Posted by: Andrew | Dec 23, 2012 5:32:38 PM

  5. This nomination is going nowhere.

    Posted by: Randy | Dec 23, 2012 6:10:51 PM

  6. Whey would the ask Lieberman his opinion on a matter that won't concern him? Also, Defense Secretaries rarely get involved in Israeli policy.

    Posted by: anon | Dec 23, 2012 6:33:43 PM

  7. Lieberman is concerned not *just* about Israel, but *also* Iran. Got that? As if these are two distinct issues in his yiddische kopf.

    But I can see why Towleroad (or rather Andrew Belonsky) posts this here. Doesn't Chuck Hagel care about all those hott Israeli soldiers who can dance to "Call me, maybe"? Itz a gay issue, I tells ya!

    Posted by: Bogdan | Dec 23, 2012 9:13:42 PM

  8. Lieberman is the worst. Good riddance

    Posted by: mikemike | Dec 24, 2012 2:49:23 AM

  9. While Israel is our most important ally/client state in the Middle East, Hagel doesn't believe that we should kowtow to every position of the right wing Israeli government.

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 24, 2012 9:16:50 AM

  10. This nomination isn't going to fly and not because of what Hagel said about Hormel years ago (which I personally would be willing to forgive if he demonstrates his support of gays and lesbians serving in the military). Hagel is a Republican who did not toe the party line on the Bush II's foreign policy, and in the last election he endorsed several Democratic candidates, including Bob Kerry for the open Senate seat in his home state of Nebraska. He will be as popular among Republicans as a Lieberman nomination would be among Democrats.

    Posted by: MichaelJ | Dec 24, 2012 12:55:36 PM

  11. If Obama nominates the wounded Vietnam War Veteran Chuck Hagel it will be to serve as Sec of Defense of the United States not Israel or any other foreign power.

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 27, 2012 2:27:48 AM

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