- Special Features
- Blogs & Columns
- Fun & Games
President Obama just finished one battle with Congress over a fiscal cliff deal, but he might have just set himself up for another one. According to reports, Obama will nominate former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, a decision that is already ruffling feathers in Washington. Obama will also nominate chief counterterrorism advisor John Brennan as CIA director.
ABC News reports that a formal White House announcement of Hagel’s nomination is expected later Monday. The nomination of Hagel, who would replace Leon Panetta during Obama’s second term, shows a direction towards bipartisanship. Hagel is also dedicated to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and hopes to retool Pentagon bureaucracy.
However, the pick is controversial on both sides of the aisle. Although Hagel apologized, his anti-gay comments from 1998 have been criticized. He has also made controversial comments on foreign policy, calling Israel’s supporters in the U.S. “the Jewish lobby” in 2008. Hagel was also critical of the war in Iraq in 2003 and of the “surge” in 2007.
According to Politico, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd said that there could be as many as 10 no votes from Senate Democrats against Hagel.
CNN also confirmed that Brennan is Obama’s pick to head the CIA and replace Gen. David Petraeus, who stepped down after his affair with his biographer went public. Michael Morell has been filling in as interim director since then.
Obama has already nominated Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as Secretary of State.