Hagel expected to be nominated as Defense Secretary
January 4th, 2013
05:20 PM ET
1 year ago

Hagel expected to be nominated as Defense Secretary

Washington (CNN) – President Obama is expected to nominate former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel as the next Defense Secretary, sources familiar with the matter told CNN. The nomination is likely to occur early next week, other sources told CNN.

The White House told some senior members of Congress to expect the tapping of Hagel, according to a knowledgeable source. Another source with knowledge of the nomination called it "locked down."

Some in the defense industry were told to expect the Hagel nomination as early as Monday, one source with knowledge of the discussions told CNN.

A Republican, Hagel represented the state of Nebraska in the US Senate from 1997 until January 3, 2009 when he retired.

The White House has previously said that the president has made no final decisions. One source told CNN Thursday that the president was "mulling" over appointments in Hawaii this week.

A White House source told CNN's Wolf Blitzer the president "has not offered the job to anyone."

In an interview that aired on NBC December 30, Obama allowed he had not then made a decision on who to nominate, but said in making the choice his "number one criteria will be who's going to do the best job in helping to secure America."

"I've served with Chuck Hagel. I know him. He is a patriot," Obama said on "Meet the Press. "He is somebody who has done extraordinary work both in the United States Senate. Somebody who served this country with valor in Vietnam. And is somebody who's currently serving on my Intelligence Advisory Board and doing an outstanding job."

READ MORE: Leading foreign policy voices mount pro-Hagel defense

His comments came as Hagel has undergone criticism from high-profile figures in Washington and other groups taking issue with some of his past positions–namely, his former opposition to sanctions against Iran and comments he made that led some pro-Israel lobbyists to argue he was not supportive of the Jewish state. He was also not in favor of the surge of troops in Iraq pushed by the Bush administration.

"A lot of Republicans and Democrats are very concerned about Chuck Hagel's position on Iran sanctions, his views toward Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah, and that there is wide and deep concern about his policies," Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Sunday on Fox News.

The source with knowledge of the nominations adds that White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew is likely to be nominated as Treasury Secretary, perhaps as early as next week. This source says that while Lew is expected to be confirmed, there is some consternation in the business community about Lew, who is known as a "numbers guy" but has "little or no market and business experience."

The administration is believed to be searching for a person with business expertise to run the Commerce Department, but there seems to be no first-in-line name circulating at this point. Gene Sperling is expected to stay as Director of the National Economic Council.

Former Washington state governor Christine Gregoire, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm are also being considered for cabinet posts.

– CNN Political Director Mark Preston contributed to this report

soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. fishawk

    Hagel will not get the post because the Jewish lobey opposes him. Never seen the racism in Hagel that many of his fellow Republicants have routinely shown (southern stategy politics).Hagel is a physcal conservative and will try to stop some of the billiions we give away to the Israeli Zionists. The fundamentalist element of the republicants is bought off by the Israeli lobbists. Someone should tell them If you cut off help to the least of your own countymen to aid those of another country it makes you a traitor to both your country and your (christian) religion

    January 4, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  2. jane

    If Repubs and Demos are not happy......GOOD....I'm tired of the two parties ALWAYS fighting like little children

    January 4, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  3. martin

    Israel won't be happy, but maybe it's time we acted as a genuine honest broker in regards to israel/palestine.

    January 4, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  4. JayBee

    "He is a patriot," Obama said Like Obama know what a patriot is??

    January 4, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. TheMovieFan

    Fortunately, he is a sane Republican.

    January 4, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  6. Ariesrising

    Great choice by the President, a man with honor and principles. This man is an example what used to make the GOP a decent party. I hope the GOP does not block his nomination.

    January 4, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. JR

    I like Hagel but Wesley Clark would have bin best choice.

    January 4, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  8. John Tighe

    "excellent choice" my butt!

    Why do Democrats have a "daddy complex" when dealing with the head of the DOD? Why do they feel that the GOP know more about that? Any casual review of the past will show that the GOP are CLUELESS about war. This nomination just perpetuates the feeling that Democrats are pathetic.

    January 4, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  9. TomGI

    I'm not 100% in favor of Hagel but at least he is not an unregistered Israeli agent. In fact, he is someone who has not signed the Israel loyalty agreement. He has always be skeptical of Israel's motives and methods. Plus even though he supported the Iraq invasion, he later recanted and became a critic of that war. I do think he continued to support the invasion of Afghanistan and felt our focus should have been there all along. He has been an advisor to Obama for a couple years.

    January 4, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  10. Sophie

    I would like to remind you all that Obama is an attorney, and as is Michelle, Obama would of done extensive research on anyone for the job, as Sec. of Defense; Trust me, if there was a better person for the job, Obama would have known about it or would of been "alerted". This job is very serious, I will always be amazed at the capture of OBL, and so, remember this situation, when you say the very words, Sec. of Defense. You have to know your "stuff".

    January 4, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  11. marcparella

    Senator Hagel has my vote. A true conservative who is guided by conscience rather than by party loyalty.

    January 4, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  12. ghostriter

    Tea Party groups have come out against President Obama for the nomination of ex-senator Chuck Hagel as Secratary of Defense. The group claimed that, "Obama is once again nominating individuals that will assist him with his agenda of turning this country into a socialist society by making us less safe, weakening our defenses and inviting our enemies to attack us." When confronted with the fact that Hagel is a life-long republican, one Tea Party representative was quoted as saying, "Who says he's a republican? The liberal media?"

    January 4, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  13. chris wiegard

    Hey guys who think that Hagel never served in the military- ever heard of Wikipedia? If you had bothered to visit that site, you would have learned that Hagel led an infantry squad in Vietnam, where he received two purple hearts.
    sheeeeesh.........

    January 4, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. Kristen Ann Winslet

    Chuck Hagel is an excellent choice for Secretary of Defense.

    The nomination once announced should proceed without issue.

    Only the Republicans would block such a measure, but then again, what else is new.

    January 4, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  15. Jon

    Another former Chairman and CEO of multiple company's, how about someone fresh for a change.

    January 4, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  16. manny

    i like this nomination .. it keep kerry in the senate ( the real reson GOP wants Kerry) and it shuts up the republicans.. Lets see them sabotage this nomination

    January 4, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  17. disgustedvet

    Ole Barack is one clever cleaver . He knows Hagel is somewhat unpopular in GOP circles and rather anti-Israeli so this is a way of showing he is "bi-partisan " heh,heh,heh,while poking the GOP in the eye at the same time .

    January 4, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  18. MGunny

    More big talk from the GOP, Obama will get what he wants in the end.

    January 4, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. ronmac

    Good choice I think, he has a ton of experience. Nice to see the President reach across the isle in a partisan way. Some of you folks that complain about every decision, I have to say, I question your loyalty to our country sometimes. I didn't even vote for the President, but once he became our President again, I still try and support him, unless of course, I really disagree with what he is doing. Some of you should try that, its not a bad way to see things...Just saying.....

    January 4, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  20. Sama Mondeh

    Sen. Hagel is perhaps the only Republic that I would have voted for if he ran for President. He is a decent man who is a friend of the Jewish State, but who is not afraid to tell her when she is wrong. That is a friend. He is intelligent and will serve President Obama and the country well in the role of Defense 1. Do not listen to the noise, Mr. President. Do the right thing.

    January 4, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  21. georgex9

    I want a secretary of defense whose primary interests is the protection of the United States.

    January 4, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  22. Chris Nugent

    Why put another Pentagon puppet in there. We are winding down two wars and looking to cut deficits it's time to look at the MIC seriously for reductions in spending instead of SS and Social Safety nets

    January 4, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  23. are122

    I think after four years of miserable failure Obama MIGHT have finally made one good choice.

    January 4, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  24. pl

    I'm a dem and I like Chuck Hagel. Good choice.

    January 4, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  25. ArizonaYankee

    Obama says Hagel is a patriot. Ha, Obama wouldn't know a patriot or and honest working American if he fell over one. I have no problem with Hagel, but this administration is a total disaster...Socialists ALL......

    January 4, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
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