Rubio to Oppose Hagel Nomination

Posted: Jan 31, 2013 12:27 PM

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is planning to vote against Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary as the controversial nominee faces tough questions about his anti-Israel comments and lax policy positions on Iran.

During an appearance on Happening Now Thursday, Rubio said, "I stated long ago I've been deeply disturbed by his previous comments and positions in regards to sanctions on Iran and in regards to direct negotiations with North Korea. Obviously statements he made about Israel. these are not the kind of statements and kind of positions I want to see our secretary of defense have and these are big, big problems. For those reasons  I just don't believe I will be able to support his nomination especially after his testimony in the last hour here has really not said anything that addresses those concerns to my satisfaction."

Based on today's confirmation hearing, Senator John McCain didn't seem sold on Hagel either.

McCain's position on Hagel could be a significant bellwether for his nomination. The two veterans once had a close relationship during their years in the Senate, but politics and Hagel's opposition to increased troop numbers in Iraq divided the two men.

It was the troop surge in Iraq that became a flashpoint between McCain and Hagel during Thursday's hearing. McCain repeatedly tried to get Hagel to answer whether he was "right or wrong" when he once called the troop surge a "dangerous foreign policy blunder."

"I'm not going to give you a yes or no -- I think it's far more complicated than that. ... I'll defer that judgment to history," Hagel said, adding that he was referring to both the overall Iraq war, as well as the surge, in that comment

McCain fired back: "I think history has already made a judgment about the surge, sir, and you're on the wrong side of it."

The senator added that Hagel's "refusal" to answer the question "will have an impact" on whether he votes for his nomination.

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