msnbc | January 29, 2013
>>> so another high-profile senate republican is publicly coming out of against chuck hagel as secretary of state just two days before what is expected to be a contentious confirmation hear. minority whip john cornyn spoke last night to christians united for israel in washington, d.c. and said hagel is absolutely the wrong man for this job.
>> i cannot support someone who thinks we should be tougher on israel and more lenient on iran . we need a defense secretary who understands and fully appreciates the danger of a nuclear iran and the importance of a strong u.s./ israel alliance.
>> joining me now is democratic senator, barbara boxer of california . senator, it's good to have you here. and as we had the breaking news, the video just coming in moments ago of john kerry , getting the voice vote of confirmation for being the next secretary of state, the full senate voice expected this afternoon. but you were in that room, but it's going to be a lot different when it comes to chuck hagel 's confirmation. completely different, especially given the rhetoric that you're already hearing this weekend. senator menendez and john mccain may decline to go on record of how you're going to vote. you're going to come out saying you did have reservations, but now you support him. what's your reaction on your response to the critics that you just heard there, senator cornyn?
>> with due respect to john cornyn , i spoke with chuck hagel at length. i've got written answers to my questions. i know his record on israel . and the fact is, he said a couple of thing s he shouldn't have said, and he has admitted that, good for him. and he is a strong supporter of israel . and he is strongly against what iran is trying to do. and i think, given his history, and given the fact that he will be a strong supporter of making sure that the worst possible sanctions are placed on iran , nothing is off the table when it comes to iran , he's going to be very strong. and i think it's very, very sad to see republicans lining up against a republican colleague who they served with, who is a hero, a war hero , twice woundeded wound eed in vietnam. i mean, he really cares about the troops. he has answered every question. there is definitely a right-wing effort to derail his nomination. and we don't know of any democrats at this point who are voting no. we have 55 democrats. so all i could say to my republican friends is, i hope you're not thinking of filibustering this. because never in the history of america has there been a filibuster against a nominee. this is the president's choice. he is not going to be commander in chief, the president is commander in chief. he's going to be secretary of state. he's been endorsed by madeleine albright , he's been endorsed by colin powell , he's been endorsed by robertga gates. two of the three of those are republicans. come on.
>> meanwhile, senator, there are strong headwinds against him. roughly seven different groups running ads against chuck hagel , worth millions. let's take a look at one example.
>> barack obama 's nominee for secretary of defense wants america to back down, an end to our nuclear program , devastating defense cuts, a weaker h eer country.
>> some of these ads running in states that are home to what would be considered vulnerable democrats up for re-election. do you think that any of these will have sway on your democratic colleagues?
>> i think these ads are going to backfire. they are being paid for by the right wing, by the neocons. it's all known, because there's been some research done, even though they're trying to hide who they are. so when you have colin -- do you think colin powell would ever support someone who wants to weaken this nation? robert gates , madeleine albright , and that's just a few. so all of this is the neocons who want to go to war at the drop of a hat. i would rather have someone in that position who views war as a last resort, but who will be strong. chuck hagel is a strong person. he's made some mistakes in his career. he's looked at his career, he's looked at his positions. he's told us that he's evolved on many issues. and i hope that he gets the vote. because if they filibuster him, katie bar the door on them. because that's not what the american people want. they want us to function around here.
>> senator, real quickly, i want to get your reaction to this new bipartisan immigration deal. the public policy institute of california says that your state has the most illegal immigrants, about 2.6 million. is california ready to handle the overhaul?
>> oh, california is so ready. we have been for comprehensive immigration reform for a very long time. it's been a big issue in every race that i've run. i've run four times successfully for the senate. my opponents usually were against comprehensive reform. we want to see the people who are living in the shadows come out of the shadows. a great university, usc, did a study and said it would be so great for our economy, and these folks who are living in the shadows, they're our friends, they're our neighbors, they take care of our kids. they work at our restaurants. they are a very important part of our community. they need a path to citizenship, not making it an elusive dream. and their kids need to have the dream act put into law, so that those kids who are so much part of america , don't have to look over their shoulder and can give all they want to give to their country.
>> senator, real quickly, you made a super bowl bet. i want to break some news here. you made a super bowl bet with maryland senators, so if the ravens use, they'll hand over maryland crab cakes, beers, and cookies, and if the 49ers lose, you'll send over some crab, napa valley wine , san fran bread, and cheeses. apparently right now you have the odds. so do you have a message for the folks in maryland ?
>> well, i love the folks of maryland , but i have to say, get ready to be crabby. because we're going to make it.
>> i don't know. with all due respect, i'm from baltimore, and you guys are going down.
>> oh, no.
>> and you will enjoy those burger cookies. you will enjoy those burger cookies, trust me.
>> the ravens will fly away.
>> we shall see. but i think i should just personally send you some burgi r ier cookies, anyway. you should want to lose. they're really good. trust me.
>> i'll send you sour doug bread.