Republicans opposing Hagel nomination say vote should go on
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Republican opponents of former Sen. Chuck Hagel's stalled bid to become Defense secretary said Sunday that they'll probably allow his Senate confirmation vote to proceed unless material more damaging to the nominee — and, by extension, the Obama administration — surfaces in the coming week.
“No, I don't believe he's qualified,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said of his fellow Republican. “But I don't believe that we should hold up his nomination any further, because I think it's (been) a reasonable amount of time to have questions answered.”
Senate Republicans voted last week to sustain a filibuster and block the former Nebraska senator's nomination from advancing toward confirmation.
The Obama administration publicly shrugged off, though, the notion that the controversy over Hagel's stumbling answers during his Senate confirmation hearing and the GOP delay on the vote had damaged Hagel's ability to serve effectively.
“No, he's not going to be a weaker Defense secretary,” said Denis McDonough, the president's new chief of staff told “Meet the Press,” “he's going to be a great defense secretary.”
McCain and other Republicans have angered President Obama by delaying him from rounding out his second-term national security team.
Meanwhile on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), who alongside McCain had spearheaded the effort to block Hagel, said he had accepted a denial from the nominee over remarks Hagel made in 2007.
Hagel in a speech said, he said “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” in Washington.
“I got a letter back from Sen. Hagel in response to my question: Did you say that, and do you believe that? And the letter said he did not recall saying that. He disavows that statement,” Graham said told Fox News.
Echoing McCain's comments, Graham said he believed Hagel to be “one of the most unqualified, radical choices for secretary of Defense in a very long time.”
“But at the end of the day,” Graham continued, “this is the president's decision.”
The remarks signal that a Senate vote on the nomination will be allowed to go ahead.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police: NYC cop killer invited people to watch shooting
- New York farmers lament lost opportunity for natural gas riches with fracking ban
- Coal mines near record low in worker deaths
- N.Y. reports crime decrease, credits ‘broken windows’
- Dems push approval of up to 12 more judicial nominees
- ISIS does ‘the warm and fuzzy’ to attract women, doctors, accountants
- Georgia prosecutor Yates tapped for No. 2 post in Justice Department
- Florida officer slain; 1 charged
- Use of U.S. steel to fix Alaska terminal causes rift with Canada
- California downpours arrive with lightning
- Republican lawmakers vow to block confirmation of any potential ambassador to Cuba