Hagel expected to be nominated as Defense Secretary
January 4th, 2013
05:20 PM ET
10 years 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."

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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. Speaking Truth to Power

    Let's see. Hates gays. Hates Jews. Likes Obama. Likes Hamas. Hires PR firms like the Podesta Group to create the perception of public support. Sounds wonderfully qualified to be Secretary of Defense!

    Does anybody remember Ionesco? Why has the Obama Administration become the Theater of the Absurd?

    January 4, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  2. larry5

    Controlling the voting machines is going to be important in 2 years if Obama is going to control the whole operation. Plus he need to downgrade the military a bit faster and start building his own security force to "implement my own national security measures" (Obama quote).

    January 4, 2013 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  3. UVikingsLost

    Hagel will be a fine choice for Sec/Def.

    January 4, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  4. J.V.Hodgson

    So many of Obama's appointments ( last term) have run into comittee type stalling filibusters from individual Senators. so why should it change now.

    January 4, 2013 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  5. Disgusted_Republican

    If one has insomnia a speech given by Hagel will offer a cure.

    January 5, 2013 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  6. Abdul

    Pres. Obama can nominate Gen. Wesley Clark for the Sec of Def. Why he wants some former republican law-maker to takeover the most important Dept. in his administration. If the Pres. think he could win Republican support, I don't think so!. Anyway, Obama is a big boy, I guess he knows what he is doing.


    January 5, 2013 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  7. Greenspam

    Obama NEVER served.... what was Obama talking about?

    January 5, 2013 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  8. candy

    Actually Obama had a chance to make history by nominating a woman for the post since we had a lot of issues with the Generals. Again, he chooses mediocrity to match his spineless decisions. Hagel has alot of negative baggage mostly bigotry. Michelle Fluornoy or Ashton Carter would have been better choices.

    January 5, 2013 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  9. c

    Brilliant. Have a Republican do the dirty work of cutting the Military. Hands are washed!

    January 5, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  10. D.Flinn

    Why should a tiny flyspeck of a second country have input as to who serves as an American official? Maybe when we need a Sec of Transportation we should ask Moldova if our pick satisfies them.

    January 5, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  11. fay ruujin

    hmm if the GOP is all up in arms about him, then he is no doubt the best choice for the job.

    January 5, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  12. Bill

    YES. And Senate confirmation hearings should be held right after Hillary TRUTHFULLY testifies on Benghazi and Holder TRUTHFULLY testifies on Fast and Furious.

    January 5, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. judy

    Kerry is sec of state Hagel would be sec of defense. Funny watching the repos like the pot calling the kettle black. Hager apologized fro remarks made some 10 years ago. Most repos would have forgiven him long ago but since the president likes him the repos will once again make a stink. Like they just did with auto pen and photo shopping. Have they nothing better to do but complain. How about trying to do their jobs.??

    January 5, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  14. Sorensen

    Hagel is a perfect candidate. He also does not lie. As opposed to 99% of the GOP fools.

    January 5, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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