Sen. Inhofe says he'll oppose Hagel
January 15th, 2013
10:50 PM ET
2 years ago

Sen. Inhofe says he'll oppose Hagel

(CNN) – Sen. Jim Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has pledged to oppose President Barack Obama's nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel for secretary of the Defense Department after a sit-down with Hagel on Tuesday.

"We had a very cordial meeting today in which we discussed his nomination," the Republican senator from Oklahoma said in a statement. "Unfortunately, as I told him during our meeting today, we are simply too philosophically opposed on the issues for me to support his nomination."

Inhofe said one of his biggest concerns with Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, involved the so-called sequester, a large sum of automatic, across-the-board budget cuts that would have a major impact on the military over the next decade. Originally set to kick in at the beginning of the year, the sequester was postponed by two months as part of the "fiscal cliff" bill passed by Congress on January 1. Lawmakers will face an early-March deadline to once again deal with the spending cuts.

While Inhofe pointed to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's comments saying the cuts could be "devastating," the senator said "Hagel's comments have not demonstrated that same level of concern about the pending defense cuts."

Inhofe also took issue with Hagel's support of nuclear disarmament and his involvement with Global Zero, a movement that calls for a "world without nuclear weapons."

Furthermore, Inhofe cast doubt on Hagel's positions regarding the Middle East - Iran and Israel, in particular. Hagel has faced strong criticism in recent weeks for opposing unilateral sanctions against Iran. Inhofe also called him out for not signing "a letter affirming U.S. solidarity with Israel" in 2000 and for urging "the Bush administration to support Iranian membership in the World Trade Organization."

"Given the current tension in the Middle East that is largely being instigated by the Iranian regime, I am concerned with Sen. Hagel's views," Inhofe said.

However, Inhofe qualified, while they are "opposed on issues, (they) are still friends."

"This is one of those rare times when policy differences don't stand in the way of personal relationships," he added.

In an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper in Nebraska on January 7, Hagel answered his critics, saying his record will show "unequivocal, total support for Israel."

READ MORE: Hagel trying to set record straight

The former senator said his views and positions have been "completely distorted" and he didn't "sign on to certain resolutions and letters because they were counterproductive and didn't solve a problem."

Hagel also explained why he opposed 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."

While Inhofe says he won't support Hagel's nomination, the former senator did get a big boost earlier Tuesday when two key Jewish senators gave Hagel their backing. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California–both Democrats–said their discussions with the former senator gave them the assurance they needed to support him.


Filed under: Chuck Hagel • Department of Defense • Jim Inhofe
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Sandy

    As an Oklahoman, trust me when I say Sen Inhofe is dumber than a rock! What an embarrassment who should have retired quite awhile back.

    January 15, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  2. Former Republican, now an Independent

    The republicans in congress won't back Hagel because he has a mind of his own and isn't a loyal puppet of the neo-cons in control.

    January 15, 2013 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  3. Fed UP

    In other words Inhofe had his mind made up, but just wanted a little press.

    January 15, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  4. UM

    "Inhofe also took issue with Hagel's support of nuclear disarmament and his involvement with Global Zero, a movement that calls for a "world without nuclear weapons." "

    Considering Jim Inhofe is a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, "We the People" should have conformation hearings for Senate committees.

    January 16, 2013 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  5. Braveheart

    Of course the man from Oklahoma will not vote for Sen. Hagel. He is a republican. Never trust a republican!

    January 16, 2013 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  6. Thomas

    James Inhofe (R-OK) in the Kony 2012 video. You know, the guy who said U.S. foreign policy should be based on the Bible.

    James Inhofe (R-OK) argued that his belief that global warming is a hoax is biblically inspired.

    All you have to do is look at Inhofe's voting record , the guy is bought and payed for .

    January 16, 2013 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  7. Yomi Olalere

    Isn't it it ludicrous the wagon of reasons sputted by Senator Inhofe and his bretheren for not suippoting Hagel's nomination? How can you be someone's friend when you are attacking his progress?

    Please someone needs to realize that having US alone combatting the who;e world has never workled and cvan never work in the new world. Collaboration is the rule of the game!

    Someof these senators need to be thoroughly checked if they are profiting from the defense budget. Why are they so adamant not to cut the defense funding?

    I am sure there are many things that get swept underneath the carpet, and not available to the public knowledge.

    Dirty games stand in the way of good intention.

    Its a matter of time.

    January 16, 2013 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  8. helenecha

    Hagel is like somebody who is supposed to be the designer building his ideas on the hopes. Unfortunately, hope is not strategy.

    January 16, 2013 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  9. Logic N LA

    Another Republican that doesn't know the difference between the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State. This man would have no control over international affairs, only our miltary. his opinion in 2000 of Iran and Israel have nothing to do with running our miltary.
    What's more, as a Republican he should be thrilled that someone wants to cut spending but I guess that's only if it benefits individuals and not corporate america and Haliburton.

    January 16, 2013 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  10. Steve S

    With friends like that...

    January 16, 2013 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  11. Claire

    Well, duh. Inhofe is a Republican and Obama is still POTUS. It's the Republican playbook.

    January 16, 2013 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  12. Lizard Lance

    Got to love today's brand of conservative. They don't give a rat's butt about the country. They don't give a rat's butt about Americans. But they do answer to their campaign contributors and if the Israeli lobby opposes someone or something, you can bet that the republicans will act just like puppets and do what they're told.

    January 16, 2013 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  13. znn

    i hope hagel wins the nomination and inhofe loses his seat. what's the congressional approval rating right now? 20%? HAGEL IS RIGHT – HE IS NOT AN ISRAELI SENATOR. not just US first – US ONLY! there is no such thing as a world citizen. we take international action as it benefits AMERICAN interests, and israel seems like a losing proposition.

    January 16, 2013 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  14. znn7

    i hope hagel wins the nomination and inhofe loses his seat. what's the congressional approval rating right now? 20%? HAGEL IS RIGHT – HE IS NOT AN ISRAELI SENATOR. not just US first – US ONLY! there is no such thing as a world citizen. we take international action as it benefits AMERICAN interests, and israel seems like a losing proposition.

    January 16, 2013 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  15. Dark tater

    We'll oppose you next chance we the public get ...soon to be EX-Sen. Jim Inhofe

    January 16, 2013 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  16. bp

    Inhofe is the leading denier of climate change/global warming in the US Senate. He epitomizes the Conservative Creed: "Science isn't true unless we choose to believe it!" How nice it must be to live in such a simplistic world.

    January 16, 2013 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  17. Paul Williamson

    Senator Inhofe should retire and go back to being an Okie in the nineteenth century, which he does so well. He has Neanderthal views on just about every subject: global warming, Israel, use of his office and taxpayer money to do missionary work, invade Iran, unlimited defense budget, anti-Latino, etc. His actions demonstrate onsetting senility and dementia (e.g., landing his Cessna on a closed runway at a south Texas airport , nearly killing 4 people). Jim, go home and give up politics; you have ceased being either rationale or useful.

    January 16, 2013 03:13 am at 3:13 am |
  18. Tortfeasor

    haha isn't this the same guy who leads the anti-science brigade that insists global warming is all some big conspiracy?

    January 16, 2013 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  19. Name lynn

    When these people get a lil high authority, they can say who is right an wrong for this seat. An also they act like obama dont exist in saying nothing, but obama does thats the problem with them white house leaders. when all said an done what obama says goes.

    January 16, 2013 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  20. Ken

    Did Mc Cain hand Inhofe that script?

    January 16, 2013 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  21. Andrew

    News Flash: Party of crazy opposes reason on principle.

    January 16, 2013 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  22. txan

    God forbid that we confirm leaders with moderate views. The Republican mantra seems to be more wars, more weapons, more, more, more. The U.S is becoming the problem rather than the solution thanks to these fools.

    January 16, 2013 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  23. Daedalus

    No kidding, no surprise... who cares?

    January 16, 2013 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  24. Marie MD

    "philosophically opposed" means that Hagel makes sense and would be a good choice. When the word "philosophycally" comes out of the mouth of a disgusting right wing repug that means, like George on Seinfeld, do the opposite.
    Do these imbeciles know that President Eisenhower hated wars?

    January 16, 2013 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  25. sick of republican phonies

    This is the man widely considered to be the stupidest person in congress. So his position is yes to nuclear proliferation, no to any cuts of the vast pork projects in the defense budget (things that even the Pentagon wants to cut, but are opposed by legislators fearing loss of revenue to their states' defense businesses), blind unquestioning support for anything Israel does, and never talk with your enemies. What a tool and a fool.

    January 16, 2013 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
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