By Henry Decker

WATCH: Hagel Grilled At Contentious Confirmation Hearing

January 31, 2013 3:04 pm Category: Memo Pad 30 Comments A+ / A-
WATCH: Hagel Grilled At Contentious Confirmation Hearing

Former senator Chuck Hagel faced a difficult first round of questioning from the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing on Thursday, facing strong criticism from Senate Republicans who attacked his positions on Israel, Iran, and a host of other national security issues.

In his opening statement, Hagel directly confronted several of his past votes and statements around which his opponents have focused their criticism.

“No one individual vote, quote, or statement defines me, my beliefs, or my record,” Hagel declared. “My overall worldview has never changed: that America has and must maintain the strongest military in the world; that we must lead the international community to confront threats and challenges together; and that we must use all tools of American power to protect our citizens and our interests.”

Reacting to charges that he is insufficiently hawkish on Iran, Hagel noted that “my policy has always been the same as the president’s: one of prevention, not of containment.” Hagel added that “as I’ve said in the past, all options must be on the table to achieve that goal.”

When challenged by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) on his 2001 vote against unilateral sanctions against Iran, Hagel declined to fully explain his shift, simply noting that “it was a different time,” and “we were at a different place with Iran during that time,” before reiterating that he now agrees with President Obama’s position.

Hagel committed two verbal missteps while discussing Iran — first, he referred to the Obama administration’s Iran policy as “containment,” and later had to clarify that the policy is actually “prevention.” Later, he referred to the Iranian government as “legitimate” — drawing criticism from Republicans — before clarifying to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) that “what I meant to say, should have said, is it’s recognizable.”

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) went as far as to ask Hagel why the Iranian Foreign Ministry supports his nomination. “I have a difficult enough time with American politics,” Hagel responded. “I have no idea.”

With regards to Israel, Hagel pledged to “ensure our friend and ally Israel maintains its qualitative military edge in the region.” Furthermore, under questioning from Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Hagel directly apologized for his 2006 comment that the “Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people” in Congress.

“I regret saying Jewish lobby,” Hagel said. “I should have said pro-Israel lobby.” He added that he should have used the word “influence” instead of “intimidate.” Hagel also repeatedly noted that he never cast a vote against Israel during his 12 years in the Senate.

That answer was not sufficient for Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who challenged Hagel to “name one person who is intimidated by the Jewish lobby.” Graham, who reportedly consulted with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) before his questioning, mimicked McCain’s tactic of interrupting Hagel’s answers in an apparent effort to get under his skin:

Hagel walked back his past support for “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” asserting that “I am fully committed to implementing the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and doing everything possible under current law to provide equal benefits to the families of all our servicemembers.” His evolution on the issue was critical in winning the support of skeptical liberals such as senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

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WATCH: Hagel Grilled At Contentious Confirmation Hearing Reviewed by on . Former senator Chuck Hagel faced a difficult first round of questioning from the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing on Thursday, fa Former senator Chuck Hagel faced a difficult first round of questioning from the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing on Thursday, fa Rating:

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Comments

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPTNVHKHCI6OY64UO46XG2X2DM Tom

    Where in the course of doing the country’s business has it become acceptable for our leaders in Congress to be such a–h—- when speaking with others in the government. I spent a career in corporate and now run my own business. I would never accept treating others with such disrespect as I see from these guys.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

      The country would be better served if our elected officials devoted their time to find ways to strengthen our economy, achieve sustainable growth, eliminate deficit spending and accumulation of debt, and invest in things that help us be competitive and a better nation, instead of engaging in witchhunts unworthy of mature persons.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.johnson.50 Pat Johnson

    It is a shame, when our own elected officials in the Senate, go out of their way to assure their loyalty and slavery to AIPAC. Those senators, were more Israelis than the Israeli Keneset.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.johnson.50 Pat Johnson

    We should call the offices of Cruz, Graham and Mc Cain, to urge them to change jobs and work for AIPAC.

    • Kansan

      I’d be careful. McCain and Graham are still smarting over the ouster of their buddy Kaddafi. (They were joined in that support by Holy Joe Liberman, of course.)

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/AN7XYOGEIPKTR6BGSW5UW657LQ Doc

      Why would you do that — apparently they already work for AIPAC.

  • adriancrutch

    So “legitimate” governments are the ones “installed” by our government! Like Afghanistan’s? Which is totally out of control! And will be considered another Vietnam in the waste of lives at the behest of the corporate money schemers!

  • carolknows

    McCain still has a bug up his a** I see.

    • oldtack

      Appears to be the case doesn’t it.

      The “talking heads” on the Mass Media Talk shows that try to pass as News Centers are making a Big Deal out of John McCain’s “attack” on Hagel and his demand for a yes or no answer. If you watch the exchange McCain used an old interrogation feint. He poised his inquiry in such a manner that there was no simple yes or no answer and he knew it as well as Hagel. If you watch his eyes and expression and Hagel’s eyes and expression both were aware and both acted the designated part. McCain appeared as the heavy and Hagel refused to answer. This is Congressional grandstanding at it’s very best. Who won? It’s according to which side of the aisle you are on.

      As for Graham? That’s a different story. Graham is just a follower. He really has no clue on anything.

    • disqus_T3UUYhxiu9

      and sadly he cannot hide it

      An example of clouded” judgement…and he is making decisions that affect our Lives?????

  • AdamMos

    Mccain is off his meds again. What a disappointment he has become.

    • disqus_T3UUYhxiu9

      You got that right Adam. It is becoming more than tiresome!
      The only interest he seems to have is in trying to discredit anyone
      who has opposed him on anything. With “friends” like him,,,who needs enemies?

  • Kansan

    This attack was predictable.

    Hagel is someone who speaks his mind and occasionally misspeaks. He shouldn’t have said “Jewish,” obviously, and I’m sure he meant “Zionists” or “Likudists.”

    Hopefully he won’t catch hell over his 17-year-old anti-gay remarks. He and the world have evolved since then.

    And who’s afraid of AIPAC? Well, anyone in Congress with any sense should. Remember the hatchet jobs they did on Cynthia McKinney, for instance. These are the assholes (Larry Franklin, etc.) who have spied on the U.S.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Stoll/100000621443352 Michael Stoll

    This Republican is a moron and he will not back Israel . Like His Muslim president he will back Islam and Iran . Obama cant seem to get any staff pick right …Why didnt he just appoint Hanoi Jane as Sec of State . That way he could’ve claimed he was futrhtering womans rights and equality and then John Kerry wouldnt have tp call Jane for advice .

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Myers/100001512942781 Jim Myers

      Replying to Michael Stoll -

      Your spell checker needs to be updated.

      Or you need to learn how to use it.

      Other than that, you are an idiot.

    • Reddiaperbaby

      Dear Michael,
      You are the moron and this country could with a lot less kissing of the Israelis’ asses. We are sick of them turning us into their puppets to prop up a bunch of right-wing thugs in Tel Aviv. Go soak your head, you have an infected brain. Asshole!!!

    • disqus_T3UUYhxiu9

      look up the meaning of the word that describes Muslim…The President does not fall into that category.

  • RobertCHastings

    It is apparent that at least ONE person has been intimidated by the pro-Israel lobby, and that is Lindsey Graham. McCain has learned at the hands of his fellow Republicans how to be truly rude. Prior to his run for the presidency in 2000, John McCain WAS one of the most respected Republican senators; today, he is little more than a mouthpiece for his Tea Party bosses. A man who was a universally popular Independent isn’t even a well-respected conservative now.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UUTJKDJNSAEHUL5MTEO3IDRLLE DavidW

    “Grumpy Old Men” staring Lindsey Graham and John McCain. Still mad about the election of Obama and anyone working with Obama. John is still mad about Hagel endorsing someone other than a Republican. McCain supported Hagel for Sec. of Defense for McCain administation but not for a Democrat’s administration.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Earl-Rogers-Jr/100002303926364 Earl Rogers Jr.

    Former Senator Chuck should never apologize for telling the true as he see it .No one is alway right forever.but at time we are.As far as “The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people”it is true,and you can put McCain and Graham right there with the rest of them who put Israel or any country before what is best for America and at time that is not going to be what is best for Israel. There are Senator who will and have always put Israel interest before the interest of their own country and sorry to say it had been that way far to long.Former Senator Chuck Hagel had always put America first and for that and that alone,he will always have my vote.

  • PNWer

    They are just jealous that they were not asked to be Sec of Defense and are taking it out on Hagel.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Myers/100001512942781 Jim Myers

    Truly amazing. Here is a man who was well liked and revered by the GOP. As soon as he accepts a nomination to be on President Obama’s team, he becomes an outcast. Reviled by his past friends and supporters.

    His only crime, apparently, was to try to accept a tough job, and for that he has had to endure extreme criticism to his character.

    If I were a Republican politician, I would question wether loyalty to the Party is worth the price.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MJD45AHS5ZTTPGAY5FYBBG4OIA Roberto

    the 2 amigos and a new amigo Mr. Cruz are back with their B.S again. Direspectful to the bones and stupid as usual. Reason why Mr. Obama is back in the W.H.

  • emadis41

    Apparently, for McCain, Inhofe and Graham put Israel ahead of the USA interest, to claim that the Israeli and Jewish lobby has no affect on their decisions is laughable.
    The other reason is their ware hog mentality, the surge in Iraq did not improve the military situation in Iraq, and it did not in Afghanistan, we left Iraq divided as ever, and on verge of civil war, as we going to leave Afghanistan on the verge of resurgence of the Taliban, who currently hold a large chunk of the country.
    We have to rethink military actions and evaluate our intervention effect, and exhaustion all other options before commit ourselves and our resources to a war, that we will not shape its final results, as current wars has no actual winners. The military victor usually outspend the loser, yet the loser might end up politically and economically the winner.
    It is time we think of our economy and how to revive it and to reduce our debt and our dependence on others to buy into our national debt, and when we accomplish that, then we can pour our money into winnable wars, rather than unwinnable ones.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Nagel/1408860761 John Nagel

    This only goes to show that the GOP are against ANYTHING that the President wants, even turning on one of their own just for the reason he is black. Sen. Inhofe, well, his idiocy speaks for his own and John McCain, still fighting Vietnam in his own mind as well as still licking his wounds from the shellacking Obama gave him in 2008, you can’t expect anything reasonable from him.
    Lindsey Graham, well, I can only say to the people whom he respresents; your standards must be so low as to put a “man” of this stature in the position he’s in. Shame on all of you. Let’s get to work instead of the usual badgering, nay saying and obstructionism the GOP are so famous for, while the will of the people are ignored, the needs of the country go unattended.
    Remember this people in 2014, this is the party that is responsible for the mess we are in now, this is why nothing got fixed and the economy got worse, not because of the President, because of the above.

  • AlWight

    As a veteran of WWII and the Korean War, in intelligence, it is my firm opinion that McCain is an idiot, and has let the power of his position go to his head. Hagel was absolutely right in opposing the war in Iraq. Hagel seems to be much more sensible in his appraisal of the situation in the Mideast and in his approach to the problems we face there. Also, we should not allow AIPAC to dictate U.S. policy if we really want peace in that area.

  • Jack Wormer

    Don’t you just feel utterly safe and secure when an aging senator, beady, black eyes blazing, his voice dripping with contempt and vengefulness utilizes every opportunity to try and get back at his electoral victor – even if he has to totally “destroy” the president’s nominee?

    BTW, I take my chances with an All-American, mud-splattered infantry man any time over a spoiled, congressionally-designated “Gentleman”…

  • bchrista

    We must stand up to the likes of McCain and his puppy dog ass kissing buddy Graham, in McCain we have a disgruntle old man that was a total fuck up while in the Service, who based on reports consistantly had proplems getting his airplane off the ground and that’s why he crashed over enemy territory and was held captive and when released anointed a National Hero and since his appointment to the Senate hasn’t done any better in matters of national importance for the country except to fail at two attempts to capture the White House which I guess left him with a bad taste in his mouth, I doubt if anyone can name a piece of Legislation put forth by McCain of any consequence to the US Senate, all he has done is back up to collect his check because he sure as hell hasn’t done anything to earn it accept to be an obstructionist along with his ass kissing buddy Lindsley Graham. Now in Graham, we have another asshole that doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground, he reminds me of the little dog in the commercial following the big dog asking what are we gonna do now Butch until Butch gets his ass whipped and then he tries to be the tough guy hmself, Graham is like the Governor of South Carolina another antagonistic asshole that has only dragged the state down instead of being progressive, she attends many meeting sponsored by the Republicans none of which are aimed at inproving the stead of the people of South Carolina only to advance the cause of the Republican party that’s why SC finds itself at the bottom of the scale in terms of advancing the interests of it’s people, the only thing that concerns these people is keeping military bases in the state for the money they provide the State of Carolina with none of it benifiting the people themselves, Graham, McCain, and a few others are people whose time has passed them by and need to be put out to pasture and new blood infused in the House of Representatives they are just a drag on any attempt to advance the cause of the people of the United States, McCain is a Flip-Flopper from Independant to Republican, a man whom he called his friend when he ran for president he now chastises and attacks because the man works for the man that trounced him in his bid for the White House, usually you praise or applaud a person for trying to improve his position not denigrate or debase that person, it shows the charater of a McCain and his puppy dog ass kissing buddy Graham.

  • bchrista

    People, I have one question, what have the Israelies done for the United States lately?, I know that they are constantly trying to drag us into a war with somebody they don’t care who it is they collect billions of subsidies from us each year with out having to pay a penny of it back and the reason for this is because of the fact that they are some Jews in some very high places that wield a lot of power and keep making the United States feel responsible for the safety of the Jewish Nation and the Jewish Nation talks trash about the American people unless it’s time to ask for more financial aid, Israel has been a drag on the United States since they moved in to the Palistine territory without asking the people there if it was alright for them to encroach on them and that started a war that has lasted for a thousand year or more I am not an admirer nor an advocate of the Nazi regime or Hitler ( and it has been said that he was a Jew ) ,however he made a remark that holds true to this day, ‘give a Jew an Inch and he’ll take a mile’ and that speaks volumes, just recently they sent rockets into Syria because they claim that Syria was transporting arms to Israel enemy, this could be true or not, however, when rockets were raining down on them they protested even though that was brought about because of thrie refysal to stop building new settlements in Palistinium terrtories, the don’t believe in what’s good for the goose is good for the gander all I know is every time I read something about the Israelies it usually bad news and they are trying to involve the United States in another war and Netanhuye is no friend of the US he has advocated this on many occasions, so I say if the Uhited States made a new policy of not sending out billions of dollars to every country everytime some Senator or Congressman feels like giving away our money to any nation that cries poor mouth and provide only minimum asssistant we would be a lot better history has proven that most of the time we have extended a helping hand out to help someone out all we got back was a nub, these are grown men let them get off their asses and take care of themselves, as policemen of the world we haven’t done such a good job, we move in and separate two nations that are fighting each other and make peace and once we leave the’re at it again and all we have accomplished more graft, richer one percenters and the two nations are back fighting again, so I say let the world do it’s thing so long as they leave us alone, we have enough problems at home, and we can’t seem to be able to solve them. until someone can show me what the Israelie people do for us in rerurn for the billions of dollars we send them in aid, I say treat them as we treat our friends France, and England and all our other allies and let them pull their share of the load, we have to learn to stop getting slapped on the other side of our face this shit is getting old, and we the middle class are paying for it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B2W2UGW74AJ3MMHAMU5EU4NXAQ AlexF

    the 2 stoogies and now three again led an outrageous lynching of a much better man then the whole bunch of inapt ass kissers on the repubs side. Shame Shame on them low life’s and cowards
    and McCain hero my ASS. From a on the ground Vietnam Vet.

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