News / USA

    Hagel Faces Tough Questions at Nomination Hearing

    Hagel's Future at Pentagon Clouded by Stormy Senate Hearingi
    X
    February 01, 2013 3:07 AM
    Confirmation of President Barack Obama’s choice for U.S. Defense Secretary is uncertain after a contentious hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Former Senator Chuck Hagel faced hours of intense and sometimes combative questioning Thursday, even from his one-time colleagues in the Republican Party. VOA's Michael Bowman reports.
    Hagel's Future at Pentagon Clouded by Stormy Senate Hearing
    Michael Bowman
    Senate confirmation of President Barack Obama’s pick to be U.S. defense secretary remains uncertain after a contentious hearing before the Armed Services Committee.  Former Republican senator Chuck Hagel faced hours of intense and sometimes combative questioning from one-time colleagues.
     
    If Hagel’s goal for his confirmation hearing was to win the backing of Republican lawmakers, his exchange with Senator John McCain seemed ominous.

    McCain repeatedly asked if Hagel regretted his opposition to the 2007 U.S. troop surge in Iraq.

    “The question is: were you right or wrong? That is a pretty straightforward question,” he said.

    Hagel declined to answer. “I am not going to give you a ‘yes or no.’  I think it is far more complicated than that. As I have already said, my answer is: I will defer that judgment to history,” he said.

    McCain fired back.

    “I think history has already made a judgment about the surge, sir. And you are on the wrong side of it.  And your refusal to answer whether you were right or wrong is going to have an impact on my judgment as to whether to vote for your confirmation or not,” he said.

    Chuck Hagel
    1. Chairman of the Atlantic Council public policy group
    2. Co-chairman of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board
    3. Republican U.S. senator from 1997-2009 representing Nebraska
    4. Served in Vietnam in 1968, where he earned two Purple Hearts
    5. Born in 1946 in Nebraska
    Hagel was also put on the defensive over past votes and statements concerning Iran’s nuclear program, Iran’s backing for international terrorism, Israel’s influence in U.S. politics, and the necessity of America’s nuclear arsenal. Hagel repeatedly proclaimed his support for Obama administration policies, regardless of past statements or actions.

    “I am on the record on many issues. But no one individual vote, no one individual quote, no one individual statement defines me,” Hagel said.

    Republican Senator James Inhofe was not impressed.

    “Senator Hagel’s record is deeply troubling and out of the mainstream. Too often, it seems, he is willing to subscribe to a worldwide view that is predicated on appeasing our adversaries while shunning our friends,” he said.

    Hagel rejected the allegation. “My overall worldview has never changed: that America has and must maintain the strongest military in the world, that we must lead in the international community to confront threats and challenges together,” he said.

    The hearing was not entirely hostile. Democratic Senator Carl Levin noted Hagel’s service as an enlisted soldier in the Vietnam War.

    “It would be a positive message for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in harm’s way around the world to know that one of their own holds the highest office in the Department of Defense, and that he has their backs,” Levin said.

    Hagel appears to have the support of Democratic senators, who hold a majority in the Senate. But he would need at least five Republican votes for confirmation if any senator used a procedural maneuver to force a three-fifths vote on his nomination.  He would succeed outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

    • U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden (R) applaud Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel after the president announced Hagel's resignaton at the White House in Washington, Nov. 24, 2014.
    • Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, Washington, Nov. 14, 2014.
    • Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel talks to marines at a training range as he observes an experimental infantry unit that is going to help assess which combat jobs can be opened to women in 2016, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Nov. 18, 2014.
    • Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Armed Services committee hearing on the Islamic State militants, Washington, Nov. 13, 2014.
    • President Barack Obama, next to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, speaks to the media about Ebola during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Oct. 15, 2014.
    • Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks to service members and civilian employees at the Pentagon after being sworn in, Feb. 27, 2013.
    • Outgoing Senator Chuck Hagel greets supporters after a farewell news conference in Omaha, Nebraska, December 18, 2008.
    • Then Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, David Petraeus, and Chuck Hagel ride in a helicopter, Baghdad, Iraq, July 21, 2008. (US Army)
    • Then President George W. Bush and then Senator Chuck Hagel embrace at the Airlite Plastics Company in Omaha, Nebraska, May 12, 2003.
    • Then Senator Chuck Hagel, left, and Senator John Kerry, shake hands while with other senators who served in Vietnam at the 15th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, March 7, 1997.
    • Chuck Hagel (right) standing outside tents in Vietnam, circa 1968. (Library of Congress)

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United Statesi
    X
    July 28, 2016 2:16 AM
    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora