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. Getoverit

    OMG!!!! He's a Republican! We're doomed! He's going to start an unfunded war with Canada!

    January 4, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. Chuck Hagel friend

    What a frustration to GOP, they want Kerry for the post.

    January 4, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. Greenspam

    Today Republicans said that they would oppose the nomination based on the fact that .... that he was nominated by Obama.

    January 4, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. The Veteran

    I would rather see Wesley Clark as SecDef. He is someone who truly understands how to combat terrorists.

    January 4, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  5. Pete/Ark

    Knowledge,experience,and integrity...of course the republicans will oppose him.

    January 4, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. Chris

    Obama should clarify that by "serving" he means in politics, not the military! Don't try to trick people into believing that you served in the military Obama.

    January 4, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. Jf78

    How wonderful would it be if the Senate Republicans confirm Kerry for Secy of State without incident, but put up a big show for Hagel.

    January 4, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. bob

    Hagel is a bigot and a racist. guess he will fit right in with obama.

    January 4, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  9. Obamarama

    Obama's weakness is showing. He does not want any more fights with the Republicans, so he picked an easy nominee.

    January 4, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. angel

    Everybody dies because God has appointed man once to die,so God wants to and has determined when man dies,God doesn't want man to make that determination because when man does he makes mistakes and kills the innocent along with the guilty as in wars.And God told Abraham He doesn't kill the innocent along with the guilty.So the power of life and death really belongs only to God.But since Eden,man believes he can be as God and know good and evil as God (Genesis chapter3),and man sinned the sin of pride,and has taken God's power of life and death,even in wars,and killed the innocent along with guilty,a sin that's never repented of.The Bible says,God doesn't kill the innocent,let alone kill the innocent along with guilty taking God's power of life and death even in wars.So for those who don't repent of this sin,it will have to end in the worst war ever,so it will never happen again to anybody ever again,as God will Judge those of this sinful mindset of wars (Isaiah2:4),and rid the world of them out of necessity.

    January 4, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. TR

    To bad for the US, Hagel proved he was an idiot while in Nebr.

    January 4, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. rich

    Chris, how silly can you people get. Senator Hagel will be a great choice. Even as a life long Democrat, I have contacted Senator Hagel when my own republicon Senators ignored my questions to get answers. He ALWAYS came through. He is the kind of person i would want to have my back

    January 4, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. empresstrudy

    Hates gays hates Jews. Perfect Obama appointment.

    January 4, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  14. TC

    Doesn't matter who becomes SECDEF – continued war and misery for our small military force that is deployed over and over without relief. Warmongers and politicians should be ashamed at what they have done to our volunteer force, particulalry becasu emost of them have never served.

    January 4, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  15. Corey

    You aren't to bright are you Chris? Nowhere in that article did it say Obama suggested that he served in the military. It said they served together in the Senate and that former Senator Hagel served his country with valor in Vietnam. He did however clarify that he meant politics when he used the word "Both" when referring to Hagel. He didn't use "both" when referring to what Obama served in.

    January 4, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  16. Jake Taylor

    I've always thought he looked like Tom Berenger.

    January 4, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  17. me

    Yea... that's it Chris, Obama is trying to trick people about serving... God your type sure will never be confused for rocket scientists will you?

    January 4, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  18. Brad Adamakis

    Yet another excellent cabinet choice from an excellent President. It's great to have a real leader again.

    January 4, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  19. Basher

    If he can do the job then nominate him, confirm him and get to work reducing defense spending in a sensible way. Eliminate the biggest budget busters and start the post-war draw down (which happens after every major conflict). It needs to happen. There is no need to have so many people in uniform when we are taking ourselves off a war footing.

    January 4, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. Carl, Secaucus, NJ

    If I'm not mistaken, Hagel would be the first combat infantryman to become Secretary of Defense. I think it would be good to have someone in charge of the Pentagon who knows what it's like to be on the sharp end of the big decisions.

    January 4, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  21. Harry From Pa

    Brilliant, its time for the Republicans to jump on board and move this country forward, even those that watch fox news. After all look how many seats the house has picked up for Dems. 2 more years of them impeding progress might lead to a Dem majority again. Nice Choice Mr. President.

    January 4, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  22. Rosslaw

    Hagel is an independent, non-ideological thinker, puts his country first and is a decorated Vietnam combat veteran. The chicken hawks of the republican party naturally hate his guts. Of course, when the repuiblicans announce that they intend to rise to the level of a national security threat, why worry about what they like or don't like in the first place.

    January 4, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  23. Thea Patriot

    Setup the Department of Defense to fail by under funding it while cutting the number of troops and over extending them resulting in an average suicide rate of one per day in the military, and once it's totally broken, nominate a republican to run it.

    January 4, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Wesley Clark would be a much better pick

    January 4, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  25. easyrhino

    Great selection.

    Will be great to have a Sec of Defense who doesn't subordinate the needs, lives of service-men and foreign policy of the US of A to a foreign country.

    January 4, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
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