Category: What They Are Saying

WHAT THE OPINION LEADERS ARE SAYING

The Washington Post: Mr. Hagel’s stated positions on critical issues, ranging from defense spending to Iran, lag well behind Mr. Obama’s first term in office – and put him near the perimeter of the Senate, which will have to confirm him.

Wall Street Journal: Obama can do better than Mr. Hagel, for example, by choosing former deputy defense secretary Michel Flornois or possibly Colin Powell. If he does nominate Mr. Hagel, the senate will have to prevent the administration’s top security officials from being dominated by a pack of pigeons who think the world is better off with a militarily weaker America.

Columnist Bret Stevens: Prejudice, like cooking, wine tasting and other consumption, has an olfactory element. When Chuck Hagel, a former GOP Senator from Nebraska, who now holds the top spot as the next Defense Secretary, continues to talk about how “the Jewish lobby scares many people up here,” the smell is particularly ripe.

Bill Cristel: “There’s an awful lot of Democrats who tell the White House quietly what you’re doing to us,” I’m told.

ADL President Abe Foxman: “Chuck Hagel would not be the first, second or third choice for friends of the American Jewish community in Israel. His record, which refers to Israel and U.S.-Israeli relations, is at best alarming, and at worst very alarming. The sentiments he expresses about the boundaries of anti-Semitism of the Jewish lobby in the genre of Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, as well as former President Jimmy Carter”.

David Harris, Executive Director of the AJC: “The first AJC meeting with Senator Hagel that I remember was when we sought his support, in 1999, in a Senate letter to then Russian President Boris Yeltsin calling for action against growing anti-Semitism. We had failed. On June 20, 1999, we published this full-page letter in the New York Times with 99 Senate signatories. Only the name of Senator Hagel was missing. Since then, our concerns have only intensified as we have witnessed his position on some of the top U.S. national security priorities.

White House Project Founder Marie Wilson: “There is no doubt that a woman knows her business. This is Defense, an area where we have the slowest pace of women’s advancement to the highest positions. It would be a breakthrough.

Rich Lowry from National Review: “At the heart of his foreign policy is contempt for Israel and an unquenchable desire to talk to terrorists. His realism is a pastiche of fashionable views at meetings of the Council on Foreign Relations or the World Economic Forum in Davos, crystallized into ideas without any nuance or genuine thoughtfulness.

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WHAT REPUBLICANS ARE SAYING

Senator John Kornin (R-TX): He will actively oppose Mr. Hagel, a Republican from Nebraska, if President Barack Obama appoints him to the highest office at the Pentagon. Mr. Corninus predicted that many members of his faction would join him in moving to block Mr. Hagel. “Some of Senator Hagel’s positions will either weaken America or create ambiguity about our role in maintaining security and peace,” Senator Kornin said. “He has taken positions that I think are beyond the mainstream and atypical even for this administration.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL): Senator Marco Rubio’s office is threatening to retain former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel if he is promoted to Secretary of Defense. In a statement on Washington’s Free Beacon, communications director Rubio Alex Konant said, “promoting democracy in Latin America is a priority for Senator Rubio, and he is holding back other nominees in the administration on this issue. If President Obama had nominated Senator Hagel to the Cabinet, I’m sure we would have questions about Cuba’s position”.

Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC): 1) “I like Chuck, but his position is… are actually outside the mainstream and far to the left of the president. I think it will be a difficult nomination. 2) “I can say that the Republicans would support his nomination very little, after all, very few votes.

Senator Kelly Hayott (R-NX): “Although he has not yet been nominated, I am concerned about his previous positions on Israel and Iran,” she said. “If he is nominated as Minister of Defense, I intend to actively question him about those previous positions.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ): John McCain of Arizona said he “strongly disagrees” with Hagel’s comments on the “Jewish lobby. “I don’t know any ‘Jewish lobby’,” McCain said. “I know that there is strong support for Israel. I don’t know any ‘Jewish lobby’. I hope he will determine who it is.”

Senator Tom Coburn: “I can’t vote for Chuck Hagel. …just because of some of the positions he took and the statements he [made]…he doesn’t have the experience to run a large organization like the Pentagon.

Representative Tom Cotton (R-AR): “While his track record in Iraq alone should disqualify Mr. Hagel from leading our troops during the war, his views on current issues are equally worrying and show that he has not learned from his mistakes. Unlike the current secretary of defense, Mr. Hagel seems willing to accept devastating cuts in defense spending, calling the u.s. military ‘inflated’ and in need of ‘leniency…. While mr. Obama has every right to choose his defense secretary, I urge him not to nominate mr. Hagel. If he does, I urge the senate not to approve him.

Log cabin Republicans: “Chuck Hagel: Gay rights mistake. Wrong in Iran. Wrong in Israel,” continues the announcement. “Tell President Obama that Chuck Hagel is wrong about the Defense Minister.

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WHAT THE OPINION LEADERS ARE SAYING

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY): “I will have to examine his record… I won’t comment until the president nominates his candidacy.

Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT): “I think it will be a very difficult confirmation process, I don’t know how it will end, but there are reasonable questions to ask and Chuck Hagel will have to answer.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT): “I know there are some questions about his past comments, and I want to talk to him and see what his explanation is,” said Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal. “Yes, that would raise questions, but there are so many very important questions and factors to consider and he has many deeply relevant qualifications for the job.

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA): “Any comment that undermines our relationship [with Israel] concerns me,” said Pennsylvania-based Bob Casey. When asked if the reference to the “Jewish lobby” was such a statement, Casey said, “Of course it is.

Senator Carl Levin (D-MI): Carl Levin of Michigan said he disagrees with Hagel’s opinion. “I don’t think that’s an appropriate statement,” Levine said.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA): And California-based Barbara Boxer said she disagrees with the idea that there’s a scary “Jewish lobby” in Washington. “People can say anything they want,” Boxer said. “I don’t agree with that.

Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY): “There seems to be some kind of endemic hostility towards Israel, and it bothers me, and it bothers many people,” Engel said. “In a sensitive position as Minister of Defense, these are warning bells. These are red lights.

Shelley Berkeley (D-NV): “From a lack of support for Iran’s isolation policy dating back to 2001, to calls for the U.S. to directly negotiate with Hamas terrorists, I am concerned about the tarnished record of former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel on Middle East policy. This includes his voices against tougher sanctions against Libya and Iran, a country that continues to seek nuclear weapons and calls for the destruction of Israel. I also hope that past support for former Senator Hagel in protecting the interests of terrorist groups over the interests of Israel, America’s most trusted ally, will raise red flags. The bottom line is that Chuck Hagel’s dark record on issues affecting the Middle East contrasts sharply with our country’s stated policies, and he would be the wrong choice for America’s next defense secretary.

Representative Barney Frank (D-MA): “Then Senator Hagel, aggressively opposed to what President Clinton called the first openly gay ambassador in U.S. history, was not, as Senator Hagel now claims, an aberration. He has consistently voted against justice for the LGBT people, and there seems to have been no evidence of an apology or denial of his attack on James Hormel before he attempted to become Secretary of Defense… I cannot think of any other minority group in the U.S. today where such a negative statement and action, made in 1998, would not be an obstacle to a major presidential appointment.

Obama for America, Jewish Advocacy Director Ira Forman: “If [Hagel] had taken on a political role, we would have had real concerns.

Alan Dershowitz: “If Chuck Hagel had been appointed defense minister, the Iranian mullahs would have interpreted President Obama’s decision as a signal that the military option is now essentially out of the question. This would encourage them to continue developing nuclear weapons without fear of attack from the United States. It would tell them that if they could withstand the pain of sanctions and continue the negotiation charade, they would eventually be allowed to win a prize in the form of a delivered nuclear bomb.

Former DnA communications director Karen Finney: MSNBC employee Karen Finney criticized the potential nomination of former Senator Nebraska Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, calling the lack of diversity in the nomination of Hagel and Senator John Kerry (D., Massachusetts) to key cabinet positions “not a smart strategic decision.

Former New York City Mayor Ed Coch: “I think it would be a terrible appointment,” he said, “and apparently like most Jewish leaders who have expressed their views.

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