Conservative group plans anti-Hagel ad campaign
January 17th, 2013
04:06 PM ET
10 years ago

Conservative group plans anti-Hagel ad campaign

(CNN) - A conservative group is planning a television and online ad campaign urging senators to vote against former Sen. Chuck Hagel at his confirmation hearings to be secretary of defense.

The American Future Fund plans to run television ads in Washington and in certain states against Obama's nominee, the group said, as well as print ads, web spots, and a website. They call it an "all the above" strategy that "will be nationwide, focused on the many disqualifying characteristics of the Hagel nomination – including not only his now well-known statements against Israel and his weak opposition to the Iranian nuclear threat, but also his to be disclosed personal, business and ethical conflicts."

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Hagel is a former two-term Republican senator from Nebraska and is seen as President Barack Obama's most controversial nominee for his second-term cabinet. Hagel has faced criticism some on both sides of the aisle as a controversial nominee because of past positions he has taken on Israel, Iran and U.S. military action. Critics have also objected to his description in 1998 of an ambassadorial nominee as "openly, aggressively gay" – for which he has since apologized - and his 2007 remark that the "Jewish lobby intimidated lawmakers."

One of the first print ads targets Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, impressing on him to not "abandon Israel now." Schumer said after a face-to-face meeting with Hagel this week that he had overcome his reservations towards the nominee.

"You've been a loyal friend of Israel throughout your career," the ad reads, addressing Schumer. "But now you're supporting a Republican for secretary of defense who not only lacks your track record of defending Israel, but who has been on the opposite side of key issues involving Israel's security and the future of the Middle East."

Schumer and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, are perhaps the two highest-profile Jewish senators who have announced their support for Hagel after speaking privately with him in recent days.

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.

The group's founder, Nick Ryan, wrote in a statement that their strong opposition of Hagel comes because he has exhibited "a pattern of unethical behavior" including "trading favors with industries the American people trusted him to regulate."

"Hagel's politically expedient change of heart regarding Iran policy and shallow apologies proves he is just another politician willing to say anything to gain power," Ryan wrote.

The Log Cabin Republicans, which represents gay Republicans, has also taken out ads against Hagel.

His supporters recently launched a group to come to his defense, but have not yet announced a pro-Hagel campaign plan.

Obama announced Hagel as his pick for the top Pentagon job about a week and a half ago.

Some details of the AFF ad buy was first reported by Politico.

Filed under: Ads • Chuck Hagel
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Yawn. Get used to saying this, Teatrolls: "Secretary Hagel."

    But hey, by all means, continue to damage yourselves by continuing to stab Hagel in the back and make a circus of his nomination. The quotes from McConnell, McCain and other prominent GOP congresscritters all lauding Hagel as a master of foreign relations and all things defense are pretty easy to find on Google.

    January 17, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    I guess conservative groups have a LOT of money to throw away. I understand that they may dislike the Hagel. But, what is really the point of an ad campaign. It's not like the man is running for elected office. So what is the real point of it?

    January 17, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    He will have some command over the DoD but will have to follow Obama's lead.

    January 17, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. Jeff in Virginia

    When are these people going to realize that they lost the election? Obama isn't going to nominate a neocon..

    January 17, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. chilly g

    he will be confirm, theses same group spend millions trying to defeat the president and the president was reelected.
    theses peoples spending money trying to defeat the president choice is good for the economy, so let them run all the adds they want because mr Hagel will be confirm.

    January 17, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. Mr. Moderate

    Which country is he supposed to be Secretary of Defense for? I thought it was the U.S., but it sounds like it's actually Israel.

    January 17, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. C.J.

    Personally, as a straight, conservative, gun owning, OEF/OIF vet, my question is why all the fuss? The president picks his cabinet, and Congress just needs (or can, i should say)to pick at him a bit to verify he is eligible and can do the job better then some random person. I do not care if he is pro-goat milk, pro-abortion, anti-LBGT or anti-semite. My only interest is if he can do the best job he can, at whatever he is tasked. Nothing else should matter.

    January 17, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. California Gary

    Odd how none of these people had an issue with Hagel when GWB was considering him for a similar appointment. He looks like the same guy to me.......I wonder what has changed? wink wink.......

    January 17, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. jkane sfl gop mascots the blubbering slobs allen west rover nitwitquest rick scott ,carl rove and donald dump ??????

    Conservatives don't run this country and don't speak for the majority of Americans and no conservative will ever be in the white house as president ,ever!!!!!

    January 17, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. Logic N LA

    Why don't they spend that money to help people instead of playing politics.

    January 17, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Anthony in California

    @Sniffit.. I said to myself "Yaaawn" before clicking the comments... then low and behold, the first comment is your "Yawn".
    It does get really really boring. Its predictable. Its white-noise now.

    January 17, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. rs

    Ahhhh, the sweet vision of "conservatives" attacking their own. The Republican party is sooooo messed up.

    January 17, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F

    Republicans who served our country with honor and left their blood on the battlefield, now have been removed from the GOP, and replaced by gun toters, like Ted Nugent, who crapped their drawers to avoid service in Viet Nam.

    January 17, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  14. Wake up People!

    These people just don't get it. Damn, you lost. Barack Obama is the POTUS and it's HIS damn Cabinet. The ish just don't stop with these people. I don't know how any sane human being would want to be associated with them.

    January 17, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "@Sniffit.. I said to myself "Yaaawn" before clicking the comments... then low and behold, the first comment is your "Yawn".
    It does get really really boring. Its predictable. Its white-noise now."

    Indeed. Predictability is a sign of stupidity and a result of their ideological rigidity. The most transparent thing in DC is GOP/Teatroll "strategery."

    January 17, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  16. w l jones

    If all the tax right off monies went into the Government coffer the Feb. would have a surpluse today.

    January 17, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  17. ohio

    the GOP just does not get it;i say keep it up-your party is doomed of you do.
    It's a sad way to go with what they've turned into but if this is how they will define
    themselves(nothing but a white rich male club) and refuse to include anyone but their
    club members then i hate to say it--but they will deserve their own demise.

    January 17, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |