Hagel speaks out, vows to 'set the record straight'
January 7th, 2013
03:26 PM ET
1 year ago

Hagel speaks out, vows to 'set the record straight'

(CNN) - Responding to criticism of his nomination as Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel said Monday that opponents have "completely distorted" his record in a way that's "astounding."

Now that he's been officially announced by the president, he said he has "an opportunity to set the record straight."

The former senator from Nebraska told the Lincoln Journal Star that there is "not one shred of evidence that I'm anti-Israeli, not one (Senate) vote that matters that hurt Israel."

President Barack Obama officially announced Hagel as his nominee for the post, despite vocal opposition from critics on both sides of the aisle who have taken issues with positions he's taken in the past about the gay community, Iran, Iraq and Israel.

Some in particular have focused on his opposition to unilateral sanctions against Iran.

"I have not supported unilateral sanctions because when it is us alone, they don't work and they just isolate the United States," he said.

"United Nations sanctions are working," he continued. "When we just decree something, that doesn't work."

A number of GOP senators have committed to making sure Hagel goes through a thorough review during his confirmation hearings. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina described the president's choice in Hagel as an "in-your-face" pick.

"Hagel, if confirmed to be secretary of defense, would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense towards the state of Israel in our nation's history," Graham said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

Hagel acknowledged Monday that he "fully recognize(s)" his fate is up to the Senate. "All I ask is a fair hearing, and I will get that. I am very much looking forward to having a full, open, transparent hearing about my qualifications and my record."

The former senator vowed to "always tell the truth" and said he has "great confidence in the president," whom he befriended in the Senate.

"I was not looking for another job," Hagel said. "But when the president asked me to consider this, of course, I said I would."

– CNN's Ashley Killough, Steve Brusk, Dan Merica and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    He better. Lord knows CNN and the rest of the MSM won't lift a finger to "set the record straight."

    You know, CNN, you could do some actual journalism and do something like publish a Ticker article that sets forth quotes from like McCain, Graham and McConnell in which they absolutely fawned over Hagel's foreign policy experience and righteousness. They're doing a 100% about-face on the guy and it's 100% disingenuous, dishonest and designed solely for the purpose of making a circus out of Obama's attempts to govern responsibly.

    January 7, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    He's honest and he thinks: naturally, the GOP hates him.

    January 7, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. Frankie

    The fact that Lindsey Graham, John McCain and many of the GOP do not agree with Hagel's nomination makes me feel a whole lot better. If people really look into Hagel's policy beliefs, they will really see that he really is pretty mainstream but alot of politicians would never say things as bluntly as Hagel. He always said what was on his mind and what he thought was right for the country whether it was along party lines or not, which is what we need more of in the Congress.

    January 7, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. sonny chapman

    "In your face". Lyndsey Graham is very thin skinned & overrates his prestige.

    January 7, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. Squigman

    You gotta love the far right, republican noise makers. They're so temperamental. 97% temper and 3% mental.

    January 7, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    The former senator from Nebraska told the Lincoln Journal Star that there is "not one shred of evidence that I'm anti-Israeli, not one (Senate) vote that matters that hurt Israel."
    ------------------
    Whoops, there he goes again. He didn't say it right. Didn't use the right word. I think this scenario calls for "anti-semitic", not "anti-Israeli." Now the right is really gonna make some noise.

    January 7, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. LIP

    My party, the GOP, needs to back off and not alienate Senator Haegel. This is a nice gesture of President Obama and has merit and should be rewarded with a fast approval by all.

    January 7, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Sniffit wrote:

    He better. Lord knows CNN and the rest of the MSM won't lift a finger to "set the record straight."
    -------------
    It is not really their job to do that in a news article. That's what opinion pages and editorials are for. When an organization starts opinionating on the news then their journalistic integrity is suspect, which exactly the problem at Fox News. Fox blurs the line between actual news reporting and biased opinionating.

    January 7, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. kevin

    In your face!!!!! in your face......

    January 7, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    The real reason they are upset? There is no chance for them to pick up another Senate seat.

    January 7, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. chill

    It would be oh so refreshing to have a SecDef who wouldn't feel obligated to genuflect and kiss Netanyahu's butt three times a day. One can be totally in favor of securing Israel without being beholden to support every inane policy they opt to adopt. And if you think for one moment there isn't a strong political lobby effort in this country in favor of supporting Israel even to our own detriment, then you don't pay attention.

    January 7, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    How about John Mccain for Secretary of Defense and CIA Chief. He seems to have all the answers. Or we could let him run everything with his IQ of 15.

    January 7, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. ghostriter

    Rudy, I disagree. The media should put out the truth. The truth is that they did not hate this guy till Obama nominated him. Well, maybe when he had the cajones to go against the mighty Bush.

    Unfortunately, the media has reacted to our new American Idol attention span. This gets more play than honest reporting.

    January 7, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    President Obama is playing hardball in his 2nd term and hopefully he will continue to do so in the face of McCain, McConnell, Graham and rest of the GOP sqawk boxes. I salute you Mr. President, keep up the "in your face" to those who have vowed to destroy you.

    January 7, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. California Gary

    @squigman........I think you over-rate the mental part.......it's 1% at best.

    January 7, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "It is not really their job to do that in a news article. That's what opinion pages and editorials are for. When an organization starts opinionating on the news then their journalistic integrity is suspect, which exactly the problem at Fox News. Fox blurs the line between actual news reporting and biased opinionating."

    Bull. I never said CNN should be trying to push opinions. FACTS. My example was FACTS. FACTS that "set the record straight" instead of allowing myriad GOP/Teatroll politicians to spew hypocritical, self-contradictory garbage AND provide them with a platofmr for broadcasting and disseminating the same AND make that platform entirely uncritical of the substance of said blather such that solely by virtue of its widespread dissemination it is given a legitimacy it in no way deserves, true "journalists" would be asking themselves questions about the statements made and reporting about their veracity based on the FACTS....not simply regurgitating those statements like a giant, antionwide game of "telephone." I don't care whether CNN agrees with what McCain or Graham says or not...but when someone comes out spewing insipid nonsense that is directly and undeniably contrary to prior statements they've made, then true journalism requires the journalist to point this out, not simply behave as a mindless dupe assisting in the intentional misinforming of the public. This has nothing to do with opinions. It has everything to do with educating the public instead of mastrubating them.

    January 7, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. Moose

    Vow, record strait, politics, = oxymoron

    January 7, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC

    Sniffit wrote:

    He better. Lord knows CNN and the rest of the MSM won't lift a finger to "set the record straight."
    -----
    It is not really their job to do that in a news article. That's what opinion pages and editorials are for.
    -------------------------------------------------
    With all due respect Rudy I think you have that backwards.
    News agencies are supposed to report ACCURATE news, not opinions, innuendoes, and whatever the hell else.
    Many news agencies have fallen short of this sacred dutiy and many a reader has fallen into the trap of believing what they read as the truth unquestioningly. It has greatly contributed, IMO, to the division within our country.

    January 7, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. ST

    Graham and McCain have to stop their dirty games. Confirm the man and let him do the work. We are very exhausted with wars. Afghanistan war has been going on without no end. It needs to reach to an end now. Hagel is the man to do.

    January 7, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  20. Jean2

    Jonh McCain and Lindsey Grahm and the media pundits are given free range to say anything. A replay of the campaign wrere FACTS WERE NOT CHECKED. We the Ameri9can public deserve better!!

    January 7, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. Peace

    @ Dominican Mama 4 Obama

    You wrote: News agencies are supposed to report ACCURATE news ...................
    You can not accuse them doing so unless you prove them wrong!

    January 7, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "Hagel speaks out, vows to 'set the record straight'"

    "MSM Bristles, Vows to Keep Everything Muddled via False Equivalencies"

    FIFY

    January 7, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |