McCain, vocal with reservations toward Hagel, won't block nomination
January 13th, 2013
11:09 PM ET

McCain, vocal with reservations toward Hagel, won't block nomination

By Gregory Wallace

Sen. John McCain, prominent among the Washington ranks who have questioned former Sen. Chuck Hagel's suitability for the top Defense Department post, said Sunday he will not exert his power to block Hagel's nomination.

"No," he told CNN when asked directly whether he would block the nomination in the Senate. "I plan to make a judgment as to whether I think he's appropriate to be Secretary of Defense or not."

Each senator has the power to prevent a nomination from advancing to the floor, and one of McCain's close colleagues, Sen. Lindsey Graham, has suggested he would put President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the CIA on hold while awaiting answers on the U.S. Consulate attack in September in Benghazi, Libya.

McCain said he does not plan to block that nomination or that of John Brennan for the CIA, either. He said he does have questions for both.

Corker questions Hagel's 'tempermant'

Of Hagel, the Arizona Republican said, "There will be a number of questions about his view of America's role in the world, about Iraq, about Afghanistan, about Iran, the threat of Iran."

McCain also described his reservations regarding Hagel's remark "that (the) surge in Iraq would be the greatest blunder since the Vietnam War, which is clearly a bizarre statement."

Some senators from both sides of the aisle have expressed their concern about selecting the former Nebraska Republican to lead the Pentagon. McCain's reservations stand out in part because of their once-vibrant friendship and partnership. Both were injured in the Vietnam War.

Some have described their difference in Iraq war policy as a stress point in the relationship. After McCain aided Hagel in his first campaign for the U.S. Senate, Hagel returned the favour as a national co-chair of his 2000 presidential bid. Hagel stayed out of the race when McCain ran again in 2008.

McCain told CNN last week that he hoped their friendship remained.

"The friendship, I hope, is still there," he said on "The Situation Room," saying their world views had split "rather dramatically."

"I respect, admire, and call him a friend, but I have very serious questions about whether he will serve in the way that I think serves America's best national interests."

Officials supportive of Hagel's confirmation but spoke to the media on the condition of anonymity have gone on the offensive in support of the nominee.

In response to charges he has not been a staunch supporter of Israel and expresses sympathies toward Iran, the officials pointed to votes he cast in favor of military aid to Israel and his recent call for the U.S. to "keep racheting up sanctions" on Iran, among other evidence. They also highlighted his leadership experience as evidence he is ready to direct the massive government department.

Critics have also taken issue with Hagel's 1998 description of an ambassadorial nominee as "openly, aggressively gay" - for which he has since apologized - and his remark in 2007 when he said the "Jewish lobby intimidated lawmakers."

McCain said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" that if asked today, he would not vote against Hagel, "nor would I vote for him."

In his statement after Obama announced Hagel as his pick, McCain said, "Chuck Hagel served our nation with honor in Vietnam, and I congratulate him on this nomination.

"I have serious concerns about positions Sen. Hagel has taken on a range of critical national security issues in recent years, which we will fully consider in the course of his confirmation process before the Senate Armed Services Committee."

McCain will have the opportunity to pose his questions as the top Republican on that committee.

"I have a clear record of almost always giving the administration the benefit of the doubt, Republican or Democrat," he said on CBS. "But in this particular case, 'advise and consent' is still a role that we play as senators."

CNN's Barbara Starr, Ashley Killough and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report

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Filed under: Hagel • McCain • Secretary of Defense
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. ClarkClurn

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    December 4, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  3. Rufina Benn

    John McCain followed his father and grandfather, both four-star admirals, into the United States Navy, graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958. He became a naval aviator, flying ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers. During the Vietnam War, he was almost killed in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire. In October 1967, while on a bombing mission over Hanoi, he was shot down, seriously injured, and captured by the North Vietnamese. He was a prisoner of war until 1973. McCain experienced episodes of torture, and refused an out-of-sequence early repatriation offer. His war wounds left him with lifelong physical limitations.,""

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    May 21, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Reply
  4. Fitzpatrick

    Wonderful goods from you, man. I have remember your stuff prior to and you're just too wonderful. Fitzpatrick

    April 7, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Reply
  5. Vmylius

    So very tired of John McCain, period.

    January 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Reply
  6. tomj

    McCain better not stop Nagel's appointment. After all Nagel and Susan Rice are the real military and foreign affairs expert NOT john McCain. All McCain is, is old, old bitter, hateful, warmonger, that's looking for another war. Unlike McCain too, Nagel is a real American hero. McCain's military carer has become quite controversial and questionable by conflicting eyewitnesses. The real truth with McCain will never be known, because McCain is a pathological liar that tells one blatant lie after another. Plus his father was his commanding office and a cover up could of happen.

    January 16, 2013 at 11:48 am | Reply
  7. Hahahahahahahaha

    STFU Mc(will be needing a CANE soon). You chose Palin you dolt!!!!!! Well is suppose Romney was out of the question being a tax cheat and a draft dodger and a flip flopper and all. Hahahahahahaha

    January 15, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  8. helenecha

    Does Hagel support the way that President Obama did over repealing "don't ask, don't tell" policy?

    January 15, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Reply
  9. rag against mccain

    McCain was wrong about Iraq, wrong about Palin. Yet he assets we should believe him, when it comes to his assessment of world views of Chuck Hagel. Hagel's military assessment shadows exactly the assessment of the Israeli military, which is that military action against Iran cannot incapacitate their ability to have nuclear weapons, but only delay it. AND that military involvement would be completely unpredictable. It is not like they could use a weapon, even if they had it. Just like all the others who do have them.
    I am dead set against our alliance with Israel, and the influence of AIPAC, which McCain and Lindsey Graham appear as spokespersons, with similar no brains rhetoric akin to the NRA. For all the aid we give, for all the geopolitical strife we incur, what do we get out of our relationship with Israel? It is time for America to wake up, and take an honest look at it. Search: Stop AIPAC

    January 14, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Reply
    • tomj

      Simply put McCain does not have the qualifications, character, credibility nor integrity to be in the senate. All McCain is,is a old, bitter, hateful, warmonger, that is looking for another war to start!

      January 16, 2013 at 11:51 am | Reply
  10. A 5th Marine

    I'm all for Chuck Hagel as Sec. of Defense. These right-wing fanatics who oppose him have had their way for far too long. We need to stop all this ridiculously excessive military spending and quit shipping troops overseas. For example, why do we have troops in Germany and from whom are we purportedly protecting them(the Germans)? From themselves? The Russians have already left over 20 years ago and now it's our turn to do so!

    January 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Quite true Marine, quite true. Thanks for your intelligent input here. Getting our troops out of Europe is a great idea whose time has come. Too bad that most people are just too stupid to realize it!!!

      January 14, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Reply
    • Bev

      Pretty obvious that the reason we have troops stationed in Europe is that from those bases we can much more effectively reach the various hot spots in the midde East.

      January 14, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Reply
      • Portland tony

        Then again Bev, we really have no business in Middle East either! Let these countries take care of themselves, I say!

        January 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • wjmccartan

      So now your a 5th Marine, Portland Tony, George Patton, Lyndsie Graham, Terry, I told you stupid you can't change your snowflake, so go suck off a sheep, its what you do best, oh al al al ah crap in a towel head, and crap on you, moron. Back in the fields or back in your cave and just wait, they are coming for you, drones, drones and more drones.

      January 15, 2013 at 8:10 am | Reply
  11. Prasan

    John McCain hardly got it right with his choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate and potential Vice President ! What makes Lindsey Graham and John McCain relevant in this discussion. Losers both !!

    January 14, 2013 at 2:37 am | Reply
    • Bibi's The Man

      We zine-0-ists are your masters . . . and McCain works for us!

      McCain is so far up our israeli butt, his eyes are brown.

      When will you stu-pud Americans realize we have taken over your country. 90% of your Congress are our puppets.

      Hagel is another matter . . . . sure he's a true American Patriot, but we don't care. We'll just make sure he won't wake up some morning, or we'll do to him what we did to John F. Kennedy. We can't have a guy like Hagel around reminding our slaves of their past freedoms. We love our goyim stu-pud. The dumber the better.

      No one can stop us now. NO ONE!

      We own you stu-pud Americans. We have made sure you dopes cannot defeat us. We have taken your rights away.

      Heck, our bit ach Obama can kill anyone we want him to wipe out/kill! We can jail anyone we want and soon, we're going to take all your guns away.

      So if you are upset over our control over you . . . .just bend over and take it. Yeah, while we enjoy drilling butt, especially stup-pud American butt like John Travolta's butt . . . . we can always eliminate some butts who whine too much about us.

      Learn to accept your role . . . which is to send us all your money and to stay in debt.

      Be prepared to send your children to war to protect our way of life. Support our puppets in Congress like McCain and D. Feinstein.

      Just know and remember this:





      And if you are a good goyim, we'll let you buy an apple for $5 on credit . . . maybe we'll give you some food stamps.

      Give us trouble and we'll take you to jail.


      January 14, 2013 at 4:00 am | Reply
      • Some American

        Oh, we'll give you trouble. Just cause you're god chosen people does'nt mean you get to boss us around. OUR COUNTRY IS RULED BY THE POEPLE, YOU HEAR ME!?!?!?!?!?

        January 17, 2013 at 9:40 am |
  12. mbvftukjvfdhm

    mccain does not want the job so who cares.

    January 13, 2013 at 11:14 pm | Reply
    • tomj

      John McCain simply is not qualified for the job.

      January 17, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Reply

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