Sad but True: There’s No Way President Obama will now Nominate Sen. Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary; Yet Another Example of GOP (Log Cabin Repubs, in this Case) Dogmatism

December 28, 2012

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December 27, 2012, 1:27 pm 10 Comments

Gay Republicans Take Out Ad Criticizing Hagel

By HELENE COOPER

The White House may not be making any more announcements about President Obama’s new national security team this week, but that hasn’t stopped the anti-Chuck Hagel drumbeat.

An organization of gay Republicans took out a full page ad in The New York Times on Thursday proclaiming the former Nebraska senator — who has been on Mr. Obama’s short list for defense secretary — as “wrong on gay rights.” The ad also labeled Mr. Hagel as “wrong on Iran” and “wrong on Israel,” but the focus of the ad was on Mr. Hagel’s words, made more than a decade ago, on gays.

In an interview in 1998 about James C. Hormel, a San Francisco philanthropist nominated by President Bill Clinton to be ambassador to Luxembourg, Mr. Hagel spoke out against the appointment, saying that an “openly, aggressively gay” man should not represent the United States.

Mr. Hagel did not oppose the nomination when Mr. Hormel came before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but he did tell the Omaha World-Herald: “They are representing America.” He added: “They are representing our lifestyle, our values, our standards. And I think that it is an inhibiting factor to be gay — openly, aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel — to do an effective job.”

Mr. Hagel has since apologized for the remark, saying in a statement last week that his comments “were insensitive,” and not reflective “of my views or of the totality of my public record.” The White House has sought to defend Mr. Hagel, while at the same time leaving options open about whom Mr. Obama may appoint as defense secretary.

Administration officials said that they did not expect an announcement this week. Others believed to be under consideration for the post include Michèle A. Flournoy, a former top Pentagon official who worked on Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign; former Navy secretary, Richard Danzig; and a former Pentagon official, Ashton B. Carter, a Harvard physicist.

Mr. Obama must also appoint a new director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Since Mr. Hagel’s name emerged as a contender for the top Pentagon job, he has been sharply criticized for his record on Iran, Israel and militant groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as comments he made about pro-Israel lobbying groups in Washington. Representatives of some pro-Israel lobbying groups have now been ferociously attacking Mr. Hagel.

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