Reports: Obama To Nominate Hagel as Defense Secretary

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 6 2013 10:56 AM

Reports: Obama To Nominate Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary (Probably on Monday)

98736031
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel and former President Bill Clinton stand on stage as Clinton is awarded the Distinguished International Leadership during the 2010 Atlantic Council awards dinner

Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images

The decision has apparently been made. President Obama will not back down and is set to move forward with the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican who went against his party on the Iraq war, to succeed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, reports Politico’s Mike Allen and Darren Samuelsohn. The announcement is expected Monday in what will likely be the president’s first public appearance since returning to the White House from vacation Sunday. Reuters has confirmed the news, citing a Democratic aide, who also agrees the announcement could come as early as Monday.

Hagel’s nomination is likely to set off a fierce confirmation battle. It isn’t just Republicans who have voiced opposition to Hagel, but also pro-Israel and gay-rights groups, potentially hurting his prospects in the Democratic-controlled Senate. “I don’t think Dems just fall in line,” a Senate Democratic official tells Politico. “Ultimately, he may be confirmed. But at this stage, his fate is totally up in the air. He will really have to work hard to overcome some of his previous statements and positions.” McClatchy pointed out Friday that while Obama has generally avoided controversial selections for major posts, choosing another candidate would have also been damaging for the president, “because it would have been his second surrender on a top Cabinet choice within a month.”

Advertisement

Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration as a possible secretary of State nominee last month following a wave of criticism from Republicans over the Benghazi attacks.

Hagel’s confirmation battle is likely to center around what the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol has called Hagel’s “dangerous views on Iran and his unpleasant distaste for Israel and Jews.” In particular, critics have seized on 2008 comments Hagel made about how he sometimes opposes pro-Israel groups. But gay-rights groups have also opposed Hagel for disparaging an ambassadorial nominee as "openly, aggressively gay." Hagel has apologized for the comment.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to throw his support behind Hagel on Sunday, telling ABC that “I’m going to wait and see how the hearings go” to figure out whether the former senator’s views “make sense for that particular job.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

There Are New Abuse Allegations Against Adrian Peterson

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

John Oliver Pleads for Scotland to Stay With the U.K.

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Jurisprudence

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 

The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police

The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 1:51 PM Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.