February 24th, 2013
11:22 AM ET
9 years ago

McCain: Hagel will be confirmed this week

(CNN) - The Senate will move forward in confirming President Barack Obama's nominee to become defense secretary this week, a leading Republican who opposes Chuck Hagel's elevation to the role said Sunday.

"I don't believe Chuck Hagel, who is a friend of mine, is qualified to be secretary of defense. But I do believe that elections have consequences, unfortunately, and the president of the United States was re-elected," Sen. John McCain said on "State of the Union."

The Senate will vote again Tuesday on whether to end a Republican filibuster of Hagel's nomination. Two weeks ago, a similar attempt fell short of the 60 votes needed to end the debate. Many GOP lawmakers and aides expect Hagel to be confirmed, although with just a handful of GOP votes.

Last week, 15 GOP senators sent a letter to Obama calling on the president to withdraw his nomination of Hagel, who previously served as a Republican senator from Nebraska. McCain was not among the signatories of the letter, though he did not vote to break the filibuster last week, and has led the charge in stalling Hagel's nomination in exchange for more information from the White House on September's attack on a diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.

"I believe that when the questions are answered, and I believe they will be this week, that the president deserves an up or down vote," McCain said, explaining later that Republicans were using the nomination of both Hagel and John Brennan, whom Obama put forward to become CIA director, to gain answers on Benghazi since it's one of the few times the GOP minority in the Senate has leverage over the president.

"That's just a fact of life around Washington," McCain said.

On Brennan, the Arizona Republican said he still has questions about the CIA director nominee's stance on torture, which he said was unclear from Brennan's confirmation hearings this month.
"Mr. Brennan said he was opposed to waterboarding and torture, but at the same time he has said it has saved lives. I would like to know what lives were saved because the information I have is it saved no one's life. In fact, it was a lot of misinformation," he said.

A Democratic proponent of Hagel's, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, said Sunday the president's choice to head the Pentagon was receiving undue criticism from Republicans.

"The president wants him in the room as he's making important decisions. There's no question about his integrity of character. I think the president deserves to have the Cabinet he wants as long as the person is qualified," she said on "Fox News Sunday."

"He's qualified, and I think it's despicable how his character has been impugned by some people through innuendo and inference," McCaskill added.

Filed under: Chuck Hagel • John McCain
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. CB FL

    With friends like this who needs enemies.

    February 24, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. Anonymous

    "He's qualified, and I think it's despicable how his character has been impugned by some people through innuendo and inference," McCaskill added."

    Oh, good. I guess McCain and his (un)American co-horts Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte and that Texan guy - what's his name - ah yes, Cruz - finally got that nonexistent "Friends of the Hamas" speaking fees memo all cleared up. Freaking unbelievable to what length Republicans will go to tarnish a reputation on what amounted to nothing but lies and unthruths and FOX News jibber jabber. They've been after President Obama for four years. Then Susan Rice. And now Chuck Hagel.

    February 24, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. Tony

    I don't believe McCain is qualified to be a Senator, but Arizona voters elected him. Elections have consequences.

    February 24, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. ST

    Someone has to help McCain so that he gets checked what status of his memories at the moment. I have decided to laugh whenever I hear him talking. If he talks something today, it will not be the same tomorrow. He can not be a chameleon not called a flip-flopper either.

    February 24, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  5. HenryB

    @Tony – Good point. McCain is indeed not qualified. Flip here and flop there. And he still on the news. Sounds like his former running mate.

    February 24, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. MaryM

    What? no more Bengazi, bengazi McCain and Graham! And no more McCarthy Cruz saying that Hagel may have received money from speaking to extremist, anti-American organizations, in spite of the fact that he has no proof to actually back this up.
    How far is this McCarthy right willing to go !. Bye Bye GOP, you will soon go the way of the dinosaurs

    February 24, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. Martha in CF

    What is McCain all bent out of shape cuz he didn't get picked to be Secretary of Defense. He would have had a much rougher hearing on being confirmed than Hagel is having.......Or is Graham all bent out of shape cause he wasn't picked. Get out your handkerchiefs boys.........What is McCain still doing on this committee anyway....I thought his next gig was with the Indian affairs.............
    McCain, Graham and their new found friend Alliott needs to go..............

    February 24, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. Martha in CF

    All this is such BS. You mean spirited Redumblicans........Also, I hope this week with the sequestration looming, I hope every media station, radio show has on there, playing numerous times throughout the day, everyday, all week, the tape of Boehner saying that he got 98% of what he wanted and how happy he was!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 24, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. don in albuquerque

    McCain here it is in straight talk just for you. You are an embarrasment to the country, to the state who elected you, and to your office.

    February 24, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |

    Cave in again right wingnut extremists

    February 24, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Phyllis Gwendoline Williams

    "He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends" (Proverbs 17: 9)

    February 24, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Ancient Texan

    UNqualified and unable to even put together a coherent sentence, but he will be approved for Secretary of Defense. What have we become as a nation?

    February 24, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Elections have conquenses Eh? True, so true. McCain probably isn't qualified to be a Senator, Hagel probably isn't qualified to be Defense Secetrary and Obama probably isn't Qualified to be....

    February 24, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. Woman In California

    Well thank you "Your Greatness". I'm sure the president will always check with you first to see if you approve or disapprove of his appointments or any other decisions he wants to make in the future. I can't wait until his type is no longer able to do anything but sit in the sun and wait until that day comes.

    February 24, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Sam

    Liberals r the reason americas in trouble

    February 24, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. Sam

    Oh and id take john mccain over joe biden

    February 24, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. Woman In California

    Correction: I can't wait until his type "are" no longer able.

    February 24, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. Jacqui

    I didn't realize how hurt Mr. McCain was, at being beaten by this President in the elections of 2008.

    February 24, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. Evergreen

    The face of the GOP?! It's disgusting.

    February 24, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. Pete

    I do believe that McCain shouldn't still be in politics and that's after the Keating 5 an S&L scam he orchestrated with 4 other senators and Charles Keating..It cost tax payers over 3.5 billion in the 80's and after McCain turned his buddies in all he got was a slap on the wrist..How nice republicans forget their pasts and admonish others like they were saints,such hypocrites but that's republicans with ignorence its pure bliss!!

    February 24, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  21. ST

    McCain is a funny individual. He has said today election has consequences. When he was grilling Chuck Hagel didn't this thought cross his mind? OR has the election taken place after the hearing?

    February 24, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |