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Hagel squeaks through committee vote

Chuck Hagel
Photo credit Christian Science Monitor

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The Senate Armed Services Committee narrowly endorsed former Sen. Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense late Tuesday. All 14 Democrats on the committee voted to approve; all 11 Republican voted no. What makes the vote especially unusual is the fact that Hagel is himself a Republican.

His supporters lauded his service in Vietnam, according to Fox News:

But critics pointed to Hagel’s history of controversial votes and statements regarding Iran, Israel, terror groups, the Iraq war and other issues.

Further, they panned what was widely regarded as a rocky performance by Hagel during his recent confirmation hearing. It is rare for the Senate to be this divided on a Cabinet nomination of this magnitude.

“His performance before this committee was the worst that I have seen for any nominee for office,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said, according to Fox News.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., another senator opposing Hagel, said, “There are very few people who have been this wrong about so many things.”

A vote for confirmation before the full Senate will probably come before the end of the week, most likely Thursday, Fox News said.

Read more at Fox News.

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