Johanns to support Hagel nomination
February 2nd, 2013
05:19 PM ET
9 years ago

Johanns to support Hagel nomination

(CNN) - Sen. Mike Johanns on Saturday became the second Senate Republican to say he will back former Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination as secretary of defense.

In a statement from his office, Johanns said Hagel would "stand side by side with our allies, be firm with our enemies and use good judgment," as well as advocate for veterans, if confirmed.

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Hagel faced sharp questioning from Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee at his confirmation hearing Thursday.

Several Republicans have said they plan to vote against him, but none have said they would block his confirmation or prevent a vote.

Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi was the first Republican to say he would vote in favor of Hagel.

The nominee's critics have raised questions about his past statements on foreign policy issues - in particular his previous opposition to unilateral sanctions on Iran and past statements some thought suggested he was not an ardent supporter of Israel.

Sen. John McCain, a fellow Vietnam veteran and close friend of Hagel when the two served side-by-side in the Senate, blasted Hagel over his position on the 2007 U.S. military surge in Iraq.

Hagel sought to quell concerns at Thursday's hearing, expressing his solidarity with the Obama administration on a number of issues while saying he wished he had phrased his comments differently on others.
Some senators said at a recess in the hearings they were not convinced.

Democratic Sen. Carl Levin said he didn't think Hagel "is going to lose any Democratic votes that I know of."

A committee vote on Hagel's nomination could come as early as Thursday. It would then advance to the full Senate for confirmation.

- CNN's Gregory Wallace, Candy Crowley, Rachel Streitfeld, Dana Bash and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report

Filed under: Chuck Hagel
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Larry L

    Good for Senator Johanns. Not every Republican must be dedicated to failure in our government! How much more proof do we need that John McCain is too old and too bitter to serve in the Senate?

    February 2, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. Name lynn

    Mike its whatever, do what you best an because you have a little authority you have the blues.

    February 2, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  3. plain&simple

    Don't worry republicans,you won't look bad confirming the best man for the job....even if Obama likes him for the job! It's nice to move on to other matters and this one should be put to bed.

    February 2, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  4. Former Republican, now an Independent

    It is refreshing to see that not all republican senators will fall in line behind the radical extremists that now dominate the party. These extreme neo-fascists are destroying my former party.

    February 2, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  5. time for change

    Johanns was going to support him no matter what, he is a fellow republican with many of the same views as Hagel. The new senator will not support Hagel because she is a tea party member who Hagel refused to endorse this last election.

    February 2, 2013 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is good to see that Hagel is getting support. What state is Sen. Mike Johanns from? Care to mention that little tid bit in the post? He is from Nebraska in case people don't want to look it up.

    February 2, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  7. bryanjmccormick

    I am encouraged to see Senator Johanns show a bit of backbone regarding Hagel's confirmation. I would add, however, it didn't take political courage to offer support for the former Republican Senator from Nebraska being nominated for Secretary of Defense. The dog and pony show going on in Washington over Hagel's confirmation is all about acrimony, not substance. It appeared that Mr. Hagel was surprised by the ardor of the attacks he received from several Republican members of the Armed Services Committee. All it amounts to is a show of displeasure at Hagel's breaking ranks with the Bush the Younger regime, while still a member of the Senate, over policies in the Middle East, specifically the war in Iraq.

    February 2, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  8. alex

    The pro-Israel lobby wants a defense sec. that would sacrifice the interests of the United States for Israel. These people are not Americans first; they are Israelis and they bashed a patriot because he supports his country, because he is an American and a war hero. Time to kick the Israeli lobby out of US politics and back to their real country Israel.

    February 3, 2013 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  9. J.V.Hodgson

    I have found the recent so called congressional hearings wih HRC the farce over Susan Rice potential appointment as Sec State and now Hagel for defense being more like a truth and reconciliation commissions that hearings = ask reasonable questions and do not re-interpret answers to suit your personal view. Nor is it proper to do a Rand Paul
    and say to SE of stae clinton if I had been president and you had not read Benghazi E-Mails I would have fired you.
    Disaraceful commentary.. he was not and is not president. Are we looking to find out what happened and make sure we dont make the same mistakes again or witch hunting ( HRC Hearing) or using out of context quotes to undermine a perfectly capable guy ( Hagel) to do what he is nominated for.

    February 3, 2013 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  10. North Dallas Don

    Sad that John McCain continues to this day to support our unprovoked invasion and war with Iraq. Every nation on earth, as a result, has reason to not trust our country when it comes to aggression. As a result, the world has been made far more dangerous because of McCain, Bush 2, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and others. Anyone who believes that the Iraq war was executed under legitimate pretenses is nothing but a war-monger. Chuck Hagel should be supported for his stance against the war and the surge. Let's face it, Republicans love war.

    February 3, 2013 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  11. No Party Patriot

    The GOP makes me sick.

    February 3, 2013 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  12. tom bradley

    i am a Nebraska native. I am embarrased by both Chuck Hagel and Mike johanns support for him. Hagel support for John Kerry is another huge embarrasement I guess you are all part of the good old boys club. I hope and pray that Hagel is defeated

    February 3, 2013 04:08 am at 4:08 am |