Little enthusiasm among GOP for Hagel, but he has Obama's support
President Barack Obama said he saw nothing that would disqualify former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel from being nominated for US defense secretary. However, some Republicans have expressed doubts about Hagel's positions on Iran and Israel.
(Page 2 of 3)
Any nomination for defense secretary must be approved by the Senate where some lawmakers have voiced criticism about their former colleague.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
"I think a lot of Republicans and Democrats are very concerned about Chuck Hagel's positions on Iran sanctions, his views toward Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah, and that there is wide and deep concern about his policies. All of us like him as a person," Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said.
"There would be very little Republican support for his nomination, at the end of the day, there will be very few votes," Graham said on Fox News Sunday.
Obama said he had seen nothing that would disqualify Hagel.
The president said Hagel had apologized for his comments related to homosexuality, referred to by NBC's David Gregory in the interview.
"With respect to the particular comment that you quoted, he apologized for it," Obama said.
"And I think it's a testimony to what has been a positive change over the last decade in terms of people's attitudes about gays and lesbians serving our country. And that's something that I'm very proud to have led," he said.
Obama came out in favor or gay marriage in the middle of his re-election bid this year. Earlier in his term he presided over the end of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prohibited gay men and women from serving openly in the U.S. military.