After his rough Senate hearing, Chuck Hagel gets a boost from backers
His confirmation hearing performance was universally described as 'lackluster' at best – and far worse by many accounts. But Defense Secretary-nominee Chuck Hagel got some support Sunday, including another Republican backer in the Senate.
After a confirmation hearing performance universally described as “lackluster” at best – and far worse by many accounts – Defense Secretary-nominee Chuck Hagel may be feeling marginally better today.Skip to next paragraph
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He’s picked up two Republican backers in the Senate. There’s no sign – yet, anyway – that any Republicans intend to filibuster the nomination, which would be highly unusual. And the Pentagon’s top two officials – outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey – voiced their support for Hagel on the Sunday TV talk shows.
"In my contacts with the senator, Senator Hagel, in his preparations, I found him to be very thoughtful and very well prepared and very interested,” Gen. Dempsey said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And so if he's confirmed, I'm sure that we'll establish a very close working relationship.”
"What disappointed me is that ... they talked a lot about past quotes, but what about what a secretary of defense is confronting today?" he asked. "What about the war ... in Afghanistan? What about the war on terrorism? What about the budget sequestering [automatic budget cuts] – what impact it's going to have on readiness? What about Middle East turmoil? What about cyber-attacks?"
"All of the issues that confront a secretary of defense, frankly … we just did not see enough time spent on discussing those issues," Panetta said.
Still, former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said on “Meet the Press,” “The disconcerting thing for anybody that watched [Hagel’s confirmation hearing] is he seemed unimpressive and unprepared on the questions that quite frankly he knew was coming.”