President Obama’s choice for Secretary of Defense came under fire at his Senate confirmation hearings over his past views on major foreign policy and defense issues, clashing repeatedly with former Republican colleagues over the Iraq War, Iran and other Mideast issues.
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) defended his past statements repeatedly, saying he was “proud of” his record, but it didn’t stop relentless Republican attacks on Iraq and more.
“Were you correct or incorrect when you said that the surge would be, “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam,” said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), whom Hagel was once a key ally of during his time in the Senate, until they had a falling out over the Iraq War.
“I’m not going to give you a yes or no answer,” Hagel told McCain, saying that history would be the judge of his opposition to the military surge undertaken by President George W. Bush.
Only one Republican Senator, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, so far has come out in favor of Hagel, who has faced controversy ever since word of his nomination surfaced late last year.
“Unfortunately, his policy views are too far apart from what I believe to be the way forward for preserving America’s proper role in the world as a force for security and peace,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who knocked Hagel for his views on Cuba and the Mideast.
Hagel couldn’t even win the public support of the newest GOP Senator from the Cornhusker State, as Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) told her fellow Nebraskan, “I still have some concerns about your nomination.”
Still, even with strong GOP opposition, there does not seem to be any sense of panic among Democrats about the Hagel nomination.