WHAT THE OPINION LEADERS ARE SAYING

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.

Filed Under: What They Are Saying