msnbc | February 03, 2013
>> joining me now is democratic senator richard bloomen that will. thank you for joining us.
>> thank you.
>> will you vote in favor of the nomination?
>> i will vote in favor of chuck hagel . it was a tough, gruelling hearing. but, i believe that on the key question, is he qualified to be the secretary of defense, he established he is a combat veteran who gave his life. clearly a man of statute, cares about men and women in uniform and veterans. on the important questions going forward. he said he has shown that he has the qualifications to guide the department of defense in this very challenging period when budget cutbacks and other challenges are going to be at the forefront.
>> yours was one of the more civil direct questionings of chuck hagel . you talked about veteran's issues, prosecuting sec yule assault, classifying them have enough made of them, do the job to defend the country and the like. however, some of your colleagues seemed almost prosecuting. why was it like that?
>> i was disappoint eed by the lack of civility of someone who served in this country, served in the veteran's organization and the united states senate . most important, the lack of focus on the policy and budget issues going forward. we are now drawing down from afghanistan. i hope at an accelerated pace, more quickly. virtually no questions about the mission in afghanistan, training the afghans and combatting al qaeda and its affiliates. virtually, little, if any focus on the see quest ration we will face. i focused on building submarines which we must do. he committed himself unequivocally. going forward, the strategic decisions of spending. i think that there should have been more focus on the forward looking aspect. i was disappointed there wasn't.
>> so, do you think, senator, that part of the aggressive questioning was personal about hagel breaking rank with former len colleagues and i guess what comes to mind is senator mccain 's q & a with him. chuck hagel came out and accompanied president obama when he was a candidate and helped build his foreign policy and didn't hang out and support his friend and republican colleague john mccain . was there something personal there?
>> there is always something personal in relationships between senators and chuck hagel is a former senator. i can't speculate on motives of each of the senators. they are probably different motives, an array of intent and purpose. i think there will be a vote this week in the committee, if not this week, next week, but soon. i believe there will be republican votes for senator hagel and if not in committee, at least on the floor. i believe he will be approved. i think the personal issues, hopefully, will be put behind us. most importantly, it will be a bipartisan vote. whatever the motives on a personal level, i hope partisanship is not part of this process as the american people watching that hearing may have concluded it was because the weight of the republican questioning, the prosecuting or crass examination aspect was so much on the republican side .
>> do you agree with the old tradition that president's should be able to pick their own cabinet, choose the people with whom they want to work?
>> you know, past quotes and votes are fair game .
>> you said that.
>> exactly. i did. senator hagel , in his opening statement said he should not be judged by a single quote or a single vote. it's a fair point, too. those questions about policy, past statements and actions are fair enough for this kind of setting and the committee has a responsibility, an obligation as well as opportunity to vet the future secretary of defense. again, the key question is, a combat veteran, the first secretary of defense who would be an enlisted man who has seen war as he put it very movingly and passionately from the bottom. i can tell you in his meetings with me privately as well as publicly, he was passionate and intense about his commitment to men and women in uniform and veterans at a time when we need to retain the leaders and war fighters of the future when we draw down and we reduce the size of our troop levels. every war in the past has been followed by a hollowing out of military personnel strength, the greatest asset we have is our people. we need to attract and retain them. he would be a leader by virtue of his passion and caring about the enlisted man as well as officer that is would be seen in that way and could play a crucial role in the personnel decisions. i hope very much that he will be judged on his merits, his leadership for the future, not past quotes and votes alone although they are relevant and i believe strongly that he will be confirmed if that judgment is made on the forward looking questions.
>> senator, thank you so much for your time. we appreciate it.
>> thank you, alex.
>>> now to texas where local and federal officials are investigating a double murder at a shooting range. one of the victims a highly decorated navy s.e.a.l. he was described as the most lethal sniper in military history . he was featured