Graham calls for Obama to withdraw Hagel
February 5th, 2013
11:01 AM ET
10 years ago

Graham calls for Obama to withdraw Hagel

(CNN) - Sen. Lindsey Graham isn't committing to blocking former Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination to be secretary of defense.

Instead, he wants President Barack Obama to do that for him.

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The South Carolina Republican issued a statement Tuesday morning saying he hoped the "Obama administration will reconsider his nomination."

Late Monday, he described Hagel's appearance last Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee - on which Graham sits - as less than "confidence-inspiring." Republicans on the committee peppered Hagel with critical questions about his past position on negotiations with Iran over its nuclear question, statements some have thought suggested he was not an ardent supporter of Israel, and other issues.

So far, no Republicans have stepped forward with a commitment to filibuster Hagel's confirmation.

It would be unprecedented for one to do so.

While filibusters of presidential nominations have been threatened before, Betty Koed of the Senate Historian's Office told CNN on Monday that a Cabinet nominee has never faced a formal filibuster which required 60 votes to break, a higher threshold than for confirmation.

Sen. John McCain said Monday he would not support a filibuster of Hagel. McCain is also a member of the Armed Services Committee, an ally of Graham and formerly a close friend of Hagel.

"I don't think it's appropriate and I would oppose such a move," McCain, R-Arizona, said.

Another tactic would be for a senator to put a hold on Hagel - something any member of the body can do - which would delay any confirmation vote.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, addressed that tactic on Monday, telling reporters he did not "know anyone who's saying that now or who's committed to it or committed against it."

Graham's Tuesday statement raised questions about Hagel's comments on the suspected Iranian nuclear program. Graham pressed Hagel on Iran at last week's hearing.

"Chuck Hagel is a good man, but these are dangerous times. What kind of signal are we sending to the Iranians when our nominee for Secretary of Defense seems clueless about what our policy is?" his statement said.

- CNN's Rachel Streitfeld and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report

Filed under: 2016 • Chuck Hagel • Lindsey Graham
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    patNY wrote:

    ...BTW – this Obama supporter is getting tired of standing up for him with this budget non-sense. He needs to put one together and say here ya go Congress. Now what?
    This is not the big issue that Republicans are making out to be. If it were, that Issa guy would be calling for impeachment. Besides, the White House sent a letter during the first week of January stating that the budget would be late without stating a specific date when it would be ready.

    February 5, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. LibParrots

    Keep Hagel, I call for Obama to withdraw.

    February 5, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Walter Adams

    I don't think the president could nominate anyone to head the DoD whom Graham would approve, except maybe some trigger-happy jingoist hell bent on starting another war that this nation cannot afford. Heck, if Obama found a cure for cancer, Graham would accuse him of trying to put oncologists out of work.

    February 5, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. BigTBone

    Allow me to apologize on behalf of SC. This senator is drunk with perceived power and needs a bar room brawler to put him in his place. He wields no actual influence and is not liked by a huge percentage of Americans.

    The level of disrespect from him has reached critical mass.

    February 5, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. Evergreen

    Republicans liked and respected Hagel before he was nominated by the President. Once again, if the President is for it, the rule is the GOP has to be against. Even if it means destroying one of their own.

    February 5, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. penguin

    Let the Senate vote and let's get on with a functioning government

    February 5, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  7. patric jackson


    to late, get over it
    he is your PRESIDENT weather you like it or not

    February 5, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. DarqeSide

    Two words for Lindsay Graham; POUND SAND.

    February 5, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. NamBrittee

    Get rid Graham

    February 5, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  10. ironman59

    Typical gop tactics, more to the point typical tactics from the state of south carolina. From booing the president to threats like this of blackmail it is typical for this state. It is time to put the gop in the corner where they belong.

    February 5, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. Stan

    They lost the election,let the president work with who he feels comfortable with and is qualified as is Sen.Hagel.

    February 5, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  12. Name. falcon

    Graham threatens to get on his Princess Phone now that bff McCain has abandoned Miss Thing

    February 5, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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