New ads from anti-Hagel group sound alarm bells
January 22nd, 2013
08:45 PM ET
1 year ago

New ads from anti-Hagel group sound alarm bells

(CNN) – Groups opposing President Barack Obama's pick for defense secretary, former Sen. Chuck Hagel, released new television ads Tuesday with dire warnings of what they think could happen should Hagel be confirmed.

The first spot, from Americans for a Strong Defense, uses themes that mimic a movie trailer for a spy/action thriller. The 30-second spot says "we live in a dangerous world" and points to threats from Iran, North Korea, and "even Russia."

"But Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense wants America to back down," the narrator continues. "An end to our nuclear program. Devastating defense cuts. A weaker country."

The narrator then urges viewers to call their senator and vote against Hagel's confirmation "before it's too late."

A release from Americans for a Strong Defense states the ad will run on broadcast and cable networks and targets Sens. Mike Bennet and Mark Udall in Colorado, Sen. Mark Begich in Alaska, Sen. Mark Pryor Arkansas, Sen. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana and Sen. Kay Hagan in North Carolina.

Another group, the American Future Fund, also revealed a new spot targeting Hagel's record in the Senate, raising ethical questions around trips he accepted from lobbyists and his role on the board of Chevron, which receives millions in contracts from the Pentagon.

The American Future Fund and its political action sister group spent millions against President Barack Obama and on races for the U.S. House and Senate last year. They spent over $25 million in independent expenditures on the 2012 election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money spent in politics.

Sources close to the group said Tuesday they would spend about $500,000 to air the new ad on CNN and Fox News Channel.

Before being nominated, Hagel has faced opposition from both sides of the aisle for previous statements and positions, including his opposition to unilateral sanctions against Iran and a decision to not sign a letter in support of Israel while he was senator.

Seeking to set the record straight, Hagel said in an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star that critics have "completely distorted" his positions 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."

He got a boost in support last week when two key Jewish Democratic senators vowed to support him, saying their private conversations with Hagel gave them the clarification on his statements they needed to give him their backing.

His hearings are set to begin January 31.

- CNN's Kevin Bohn and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: Chuck Hagel • Department of Defense • Senate
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Insipid demagoguery is insipid. Story at 11.

    January 22, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. Dan

    We can not support this guy because he has a brain and is not afraid to use it, it goes against everything the modern republican party stands for. I hope that when the Senate starts to investigate people that they investigate Gingrich, Cantor and the other members of congress who conspired against this country, all in order to block everything that the President tried to do. Treason comes to mind.

    January 22, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. CBP

    Here we go again. We take something out of context and then use it in a nation-wide campaign. This man deserves his chance to answer questions in front of Congress. The Republicans are dead set against him because he chose not to vote with them on certain issues. Truth be told – he was probably odd man out but his reasoning was sound. Now ten years late with, thousands of men and women killed or wounded, billions of dollars spent on these wars and the constant drumming for actions by the hawks, we have not been able to bring peace to this region. Sen. McCain, Sen, Ayotte, and Sen. Graham are at it again., Perhaps they would like to explain why they are so supportive of sending men and women to the regions time and time again. Is it because this is an all volunteer military so they consider them to be at the ready to go to war. Is it okay that they are deployed over and over again? THe light has never been at the end of the tunnel and we will pull out without bringing peace to the region.

    January 22, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. just sayin

    i gotta give it to obama.... he was able to find the one republican that is willing to dismantle the defense dept. and appointed him secretary of defense. that way he can say a republican did it instead of taking responsibility for it. it is the perfect ruse by the ultimate con man, obama.

    January 22, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Al-NY,NY

    oooooh. I'll bet Hagel is REAL scared of the ads that are typical of the boogey-man GOP. He'll make it thru with or without their approval so they might as well save their time and $

    January 22, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Using themes that mimic a movie trailer for a spy/action thriller, the 30-second spot says "we live in a dangerous world" and points to threats from Iran, North Korea, and "even Russia."

    Good grief. Just when you think it's OK to get out from under the bed, here come the tin-foil(ers) ready to push America back under. To live in such daily fear has got to be the most awful existence imaginable. Besides which, living under the bed in Minnesota - especially during our arctic cold spells - is just too hard to entertain anymore. It's the damp and cold you understand ... terribly hard on the arthritis.

    Living in constant fear is not my cup of tea, and never has been. Good luck to those of you willing and ready to get back under your beds, though. Stock up on batteries. And blankets.

    January 22, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. Jerubbaal

    They need to be running an ad as to how the GOP is trying to rig the 2016 elections by changing the way electoral college votes are allocated in 5 blue states that the GOP control, PA, VA, WI, MI, & OH. They wish to proportionally allocate the EC votes instead of a winner take all system that has endured for 236 yrs. They only wish to do this in the blue states they control, not the red states. This un-American, undemocratic power grab is backed by none other than their RNC chairman Reince Priebus. Win at all cost, what a pathetic party as well as those who support them. They truly are the synogogue of satan.

    January 22, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    ""we live in a dangerous world" "

    And the rest of us live in reality. Let us know when you're ready to join us. Until then, do us all a favor and keep your circus of fear and loathing to yourselves.

    January 22, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. Steve, New York City

    Even Russia, eh? Reminds me of one of Mitt Romney's famously obtuse comments during his failed presidential bid.

    A Defense Secretary is just one of many voices in the US' process of crafting foreign policy. You may not agree with Hagel on everything (and hopefully some of his weirder comments have been distorted) – but the guy is a war hero who cares about the United States. Shouldn't a US Defense secretary actually be someone who has spent time on the front lines? Hagel gets my vote! The United States has a spending problem (and the military is a part of that).

    January 22, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. sonny chapman

    I'd love to know what is the combined military combat experience of those PAYING for the ad ?

    January 22, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Robert

    The Republican Zionist neo-cons want a war with Iran, on Israel's behalf and this group along with Kristol and Abrams group "Emergency Committee for Israel", an AIPAC front, have running ads against Hagel. They aren't going to stop him. They also want to increase defense spending for any other war they can get us involved in.

    January 22, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. Country Above Parties

    The fate and direction of our country, the greatest and most powerful with 350 millions people IS determined by ISRAEL, a tiny and isolated, always what-can-we-get-from-US but never give anything back except money and power of press to destry who don't agree with them. Shame on GOP/TP and lobbyist.

    January 22, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Donna

    sonny chapman
    I'd love to know what is the combined military combat experience of those PAYING for the ad ?
    ------–

    I didn't know that only those with military combat experience were allowed to have an opinion and express it. If that is the case then Obama needs to shut up.

    January 22, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    The swift boating campaign is commencing as predicted. I place more trust in a decorated combat veteran like Hagel than "chicken hawks" neo-conservative Republicans.

    January 22, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    just sayin wrote:

    i gotta give it to obama.... he was able to find the one republican that is willing to dismantle the defense dept. and appointed him secretary of defense. that way he can say a republican did it instead of taking responsibility for it. it is the perfect ruse by the ultimate con man, obama.
    ------------------
    The DoD is not supposed to be an autonomous agency. Democrat administrations define the policy and actions of the Pentagon. We have seen proof duing the Bush administration that Republicans no longer follow the practice of defining DoD policy, instead of the other way around. Rumsfeld did an excellent job of getting us into a war, and convincing Bus that it was time to celebrate "MIssion Accomplished."

    January 22, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  16. rs

    Republicans peddling fear! Who would have guessed THAT?
    These clowns need to wake up- the U.S. cannot afford perpetual war.

    January 22, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  17. Evergreen

    One of the conclusions from the 2012 election is that money no longer buys public opinion. We need to stop treating our military folks as though they are disposable parts.

    January 22, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "I'd love to know what is the combined military combat experience of those PAYING for the ad ?"

    I expect the response would be something along the lines of "I've logged 28 hours at the Tactical Shmactical pseud- militia weekend daycamp program run by our local gun club, 50 hours at the local paintball farm and watched every Delta Force movie 3 times."

    January 22, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    More "chicken little" from the Republicans. What a surprise. Still with the non-stop temper tantrums? Why don't you just stomp your feet and yourselves on the floor?

    January 22, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. California Gary

    What are they so afraid of? The Secretary of Defense is not the one that decides whether we go to war or not.......his duty is to make sure we are prepared if the need arises and then to carry out the wishes of those who do make that decision.......that being the president and the congress. Hagel is a good choice and would do a good job in this role. I guess the GOP hasn't swift-boated anyone in awhile and has an itchy trigger finger.

    January 22, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    just sayin wrote:

    i gotta give it to obama.... he was able to find the one republican that is willing to dismantle the defense dept. and appointed him secretary of defense. that way he can say a republican did it instead of taking responsibility for it. it is the perfect ruse by the ultimate con man, obama.
    ********************************
    Interesting. Once minute you declare him incompetant, the next minute he's " the ultimate con man". Make up your mind. BTW, did it occur to you that a significant portion of the GOP has always found the waste and fraud that has historically run rampant in the DOD just as distasteful as any of the social programs you loathe? That's the problem with the Right, no real principles anymore, just frustrated, reflexive reactions interspersed with greed and a victim mentality.

    January 22, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Ah, yes. The America Future Fund who want to bring us back to an image of America that only existed between 7:30 and 9:00 PM Eastern time in the late 50s and early 60s. They are firmly dedicated to what ever the Koch brothers ask for under a different assumed name.

    January 22, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  23. Canuck

    Do you remember how much attention GWB paid to opposition to his nominees? Absolutely nil – so why are the Repubs whining now???

    January 22, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Can someone please explain the whole point of running ads against someone who is not even running for elected office?

    January 22, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. v_mag

    I hope the President and every Democratic senator or congressman uses every trick in the book, and makes up some new ones, to thwart and expose every dastardly Repugnant ploy to paralyze America and steal future elections. The Right is down, so let's kick 'em. No prisoners; no mercy.

    January 22, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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