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. Matt in KY

    This declaration of bi-partisanship by the President is exactly what a sane, rational human being would do....especially, in this case, because he has clearly leaked the best choice. If Republicans aren't happy, they're crazier than anyone expected.

    January 4, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  2. roy

    The Mc Cain , Graham republicans want a Sec. Of State who will push US to war on Iran, they will never go for Hagel because having been a solider he understands the hardships of such a war, without a just cause ...... remember Iraq. With Hagel we will never go to war without real proof . The military industries have nothing but Smoke and mirrors. No war no contracts , Peace is bad for American Big business...

    January 4, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  3. John Grippe

    I guess I and many other people have come to expect about anything out of Washington, DC, the old saying, one hand washes the other. My only thought is, why would anyone nominate someone with a questionable stand such as Chuck Hagle, oh I forgot, he wasn't re-elected so the cronies had to take care of him.

    January 4, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  4. cleareye1

    Hagel is an experienced pro and will do a great job if confirmed. This is a stick in the eye to Boehner and his henchmen. Good move Obama!

    January 4, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  5. roy

    On a side note I expect ol Lieberman though retired to be somewhere in the background , playing back door lobbyist of Iseral , pushing hard to get the right man in

    January 4, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  6. Richard

    The Israeli and American Jewish interests will not allow his confirmation if he is suspected of not being pro-Israel. Obama had to beg on hands and knees to American Jewish interests to pony-up money for his campaign because he was seen as not being staunchly pro-Israel for his comments about Palestinian rights. Of course, the U.S., despite tentative opposition to Israeli settlement building in disputed areas, didn't lead them to vote any way but for Israel in the UN Security Council.

    January 4, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  7. Ronny K

    I am a conservative – I think – and I have always admired Hagel. I am a little perplexed about the negative comments about Hagel. What is so bad about someone who tires to serve his country first before his own party? Lastly, I sort of resent Lindsey Graham saying anything about Hagel – especially when it comes to anything pertaining to the military and our defense. Hagel served with honor in Viet Nam, and he had no need to brag about it. Graham, on the other hand, once (more than once it seems) claimed he was a "Gulf War veteran" (he did not claim he served during the "era" of the Gulf War). Other Vets (etc.) and citizens have the right to criticize Hagel, but not Lindsey Graham.

    January 4, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  8. NoSlack2327

    Integrity, Intelligence, Earnestness and a Secretary who cares more about the United States of America than any foreign interests. Hagel will be EXCELLENT in the tradition of Sect'y Gates, and 180 degrees from Rumsfeldt.

    January 4, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  9. Andrew

    This is a mistake. Republicans will NEVER give this President credit for anything. All he has done is reward crazy and let it into his house. If he thinks this will help encourage an end to gridlock and radicalism from the Republicans in congress, the president is mistaken. Now they think more than ever that crazy and gridlock works for them.

    January 4, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  10. bob

    Another racist appointed by the most racist president ever.

    January 4, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  11. massoud

    Former Nebraska Senator and twice decorated Vietnam war hero, Chuck Hagel makes to much sense in this upside down world of ours to get the Defense Secretary Post.

    January 4, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  12. riightospeak

    Good for our country, a very good decision.

    January 4, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  13. Schmoogalicious

    Anybody with the courage, honesty, and integrity to call out AIPAC for its repellent and destructive behavior should have no trouble getting confirmed for a cabinet post, assuming, that is, those doing the voting actually give a rip about the future of this country.

    January 4, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  14. chill485

    Everybody seems to forget that the policy of the executive branch is that of the President, not the Cabinet Secretaries. It doesn't matter who is in the position or what they think that determines policy on sanctions (a State Dept issue anyway) or Israel or whatever. Barring some malfeasance or other serious fault, any president should get to name their own cabinet. A Court nomination I can understand some pushback, but not the cabinet. We have dozens of empty positions and they should all be allowed an up or down vote without the threat of a filibuster. And I feel that way whoever is president.

    January 4, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  15. DJones

    Obama continues to prove that he is a liar without peer. I remember during the debates all of his strong words about Iran and how devoted he was to Israel. Now he nominates someone who is soft on Iran and hateful to Israel to be Secretary of Defense...

    January 4, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  16. fenian

    It just keeps on getting better........

    January 4, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  17. CrazyOldFool

    This is what bipartisanship looks like. Hagel could very well be the best person for the job, especially with his pal, John Kerry, at state. And the president pays it no mind that he is a Republican. I like it. And I like that Obama freely appoints veterans (in this case both are combat veterans) to appropriate positions and seeks to do more so in the veteran community. The Military Industrial Complex is terrified of Hagel. I think that's a good thing. Let's see how many Republicans vote against him, and just who they are.

    January 4, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  18. bribarian

    First good news I've seen in a long time. This guy is business, he's going to cut the zi0nist beast off our tails.

    January 4, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  19. hennyyoungman

    One look in those steely eyes says it ALL for me. The dumb Obama better install Hagel before he changes his mind! This will be the only correct move Obama has made TO DATE!!!

    January 4, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  20. Steve

    I hope he get the nomination because he works for the USA not the special interest of other coutry

    January 4, 2013 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  21. frootyme

    But Netanyahooooooo doesn't approve his nomination! Now what? If his nomination really goes through then US law makers are really patriotic to USA, any thing else is secondary!!

    January 4, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  22. frootyme

    He will be a good leader!

    January 4, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  23. Dimples 82

    Hagel is criticized for not being a robot and expressing his views – even when his views are not perhaps in line with whatever the politically correct rhetoric du jour may be. Sounds like perhaps too few Chuck Hagels are in Washington.

    January 4, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  24. Truth

    Last time I checked, i thought our congress was suppose to serve American interest so why do they care about his views on Israel. Next is our congress gong to ask for him to an oath in Israel.

    January 4, 2013 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  25. markiejoe

    I'm disappointed in Obama. It's gotten to be such a cliche for a Democratic President to nominate a Republican for Secretary of Defense.

    January 4, 2013 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
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