Posted By: KLKN Newsroom
Obama formally announced his choice of Hagel in the White House East Room on Monday. The announcement came even as critics questioned the pick over issues including Hagel's views on Israel and Iran.
Facing a potentially tough fight to get Hagel confirmed by the Senate, Obama praised the former Nebraska senator's independence and bipartisan approach, and said that Hagel, a Vietnam veteran, understands war is not an abstraction. The President said Hagel is the leader our troops deserve, and that he would be the first veteran to lead the department.
Hagel, a moderate Republican, has the support of some of his former Senate colleagues but is drawing opposition from others who accuse him of being soft on Iran and insufficiently supportive of Israel.
Senator Mike Johanns released this statement regarding the choice of Hagel:
"Chuck Hagel's military career is nothing short of admirable and while he has been a long-time friend, we do have very different opinions on many very important issues. Now that he has been nominated, he has an obligation to elaborate on his past statements and fully explain his positions during what I expect to be a thorough and fair confirmation hearing."
Senator Deb Fischer released this statement:
"I plan to closely review Senator Hagel's record and look forward to meeting with him to discuss his views on America's role in an increasingly dangerous world. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I will also have the opportunity to publicly question Senator Hagel during his confirmation hearing in the coming weeks. This process will be thorough and fair, and I look forward to participating in it."
Governor Dave Heineman had this to say about Hagel's nomination:
"He is a veteran of the United States Army. He served in combat. He knows what it's like to be shot at and I think it's appropriate to have a Secretary of Defense who understands that when you're discussing putting this nation at war and particularly our young people, our sons and daughters in harm's way."