Preparing for a fight, pro-Hagel group forms, but stands down
January 7th, 2013
04:39 PM ET
2 years ago

Preparing for a fight, pro-Hagel group forms, but stands down

Washington (CNN) – Supporters of Chuck Hagel formed an organization to fight back against attacks directed at the former Republican senator, but for now have decided not to launch a political campaign style defense of the new Secretary of Defense nominee.

The pro-Hagel group, Americans for Strategic Leadership, is headed by former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Burt, who has worked alongside Hagel in several foreign policy capacities, confirmed a source close to the group. A representative with Americans for Strategic Leadership would only speak about the group on the condition of anonymity.

Another source familiar with the organization said Americans for Strategic Leadership is set up as a 501c4, the IRS designation for a tax exempt organization with no fundraising limits or disclosure requirements.

As of now, Americans for Strategic Leadership does not think it needs to defend Hagel, whose nomination will soon be considered by the U.S. Senate, said the source close to the group.

"For now we have decided at this point … the people who should take the lead are the White House and Pentagon," said the source.

This source also added that he thought the opposition to Hagel's nomination by some conservatives and activists was "unfair."

"Our effort was focused on getting the record straight," said the source close to the group.

But prior to President Barack Obama's nomination of Hagel Monday to succeed current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Americans for Strategic Leadership was making calls to help fund the campaign including to leaders in the defense industry, according to the source familiar with the organization.

This source, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, told CNN one defense industry executive was told last week the nomination was imminent, and the group needed to be prepared to defend Hagel.

The source close to Americans for Strategic Leadership acknowledged that fundraising calls were made, but said the solicitations were not directed at a specific industry, rather than individuals.

"What we did assemble is a list of people I would call the 'foreign policy and national security community,' and some of those may have worked with a defense company," said the source, adding the people contacted knew Hagel.

The source said any money that was raised by the Americans for Strategic Leadership would be returned.

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Marty, FL

    Hagel is an excellent, experienced choice for Sec of Defense. Originally wanted Obama to consider him for VP as a bipartisan ticket.

    January 7, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    For now we have decided at this point … the people who should take the lead are the White House and Pentagon," said the source
    -------------------------------------------------
    This has all the markings of a Presidential "suggestion" and I agree with the wisdom behind the stand-down.
    If we start to engage these nutjobs in the right-wing with committees to fight their flights of fancy and temper tantrum we will never see the end of it. Best to let President Obama, who is quite on fire, call the shots.
    A behind closed doors Rethug-to-Rethug tet-a-tet like the one I am POSITIVE Gov Christie and Rep King had with the so-called Rethuglikkklan leadership wouldn't hurt either!

    January 7, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  3. judy

    who ever the president nominates will get a bucket load from the repos. Most of whom have not served in the military. Go back and look at the videos of the wing nuts like McConnell and mc Cain heaping praise on Hagel despite his views on the Iraq war. Now they don't know? They eat their own every chance they get. After looking at all the displays of how they think he is wonderful you can't help wonder why they have changed their opinions since he has done nothing different.

    January 7, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Pardon misspelled tete-a-tete.

    January 7, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. CanadaONE

    the GOP keep loosing and made to look like lunatics

    they are in a self mutalization mode

    January 7, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. jinx88

    Repugs have nothing better to do, nice keep the approval rating right around 10%. Unbelievable why these people get paid anything at all is beside me.

    January 7, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. Facts don't Lie

    the sorry loser right wing will oppose ANYTHING and EVERYTHING President Obama tries to do even if it includes attempting to have a bi-partisan cabinet. The only way to end this non-sense is to vote these tea party losers out in 2014 and have filibuster reform in the senate. Otherwise we are in for GRIDLOCK until 2016. They could not win the White House and so far can not get a good enough scandal to stick on Obama so their only other effort is to try to make sure he has an awful 2nd term

    January 7, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. me

    unbelieveable. you children really do show your supreme igorance

    January 7, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  9. 22

    The Repubs will stand against anything and everything that Obama stands for.Hagel was nominated for a cabinet position in the USA not Israel.They will always find a stupid reason to obstruct....it's really tiring,get over it Gopers,the president won and he doesn't have to check with you before choosing who he wants in his cabinet.

    January 7, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. Samuel, Virginia

    Elected officals of the United States government should be doing the vetting of the next Secretary of Defence, not the private defence industry. Any persons who currently work, or hold stock in any private defence industry firm within this country should be arrested for coming within 100 ft. of the person being considered for this job.

    January 7, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. Larry in Houston

    wait til the mid tems, they will end up self destructing when they lose – lol

    January 7, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  12. Mr. Padron

    I really like this nomination. We need more centrists in government – both elected and appointed.

    With appointments like these, Obama is doing a damn fine job of ruling from the center and making his opponents on the left and right look foolish.

    January 7, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  13. tim

    This isn't about rep or dems it's about what is good for the countryHe must stand on his own record,so let's here it than decide.

    January 7, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  14. Larry L

    @Samuel, Virginia

    Elected officals of the United States government should be doing the vetting of the next Secretary of Defence, not the private defence industry. Any persons who currently work, or hold stock in any private defence industry firm within this country should be arrested for coming within 100 ft. of the person being considered for this job.
    ================================================================================================
    You are spot-on-target. The Congressmen who oppose Hagel are concerned their defense-related pork projects would be cut by a Secretary of Defense who wasn't interested in an over-inflated defense budget. A good portion of the Congressional campaigns are supported by defense contractors.

    January 7, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  15. g

    republicans want one of their chicken hawks to run the show–war is profit

    January 7, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |