NewsNation | February 15, 2013
>>> more now on the republican filibuster of chuck hagel 's nomination of secretary of defense. after republicans delayed the nomination for at least ten days citing concerns about benghazi and his personal finances , senator john mccain admitted the reason for the filibuster for some ultimately may be personal.
>> there's a lot of ill will towards senator hagel because when he was a republican, he attacked president bush mercilessly, was very anti-his own party and people. people don't forget that.
>> the president is standing firmly behind hagel . politico says he has, quote, gone all in on the nomination.
>> gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us.
>> thanks for having me.
>> absolutely. this is john mccain the maverick. he got the nickname "the maverick" not after "top gun" but because he stood up against his party . now he's saying when you go against the party , you may suffer ultimately years later as in the case of chuck hagel .
>> look, a lot of republicans , including mccain myself don't really consider hagel a republican anymore. it has a lot to do with the way he went after the iraq war back when iraq was the dominant issue in washington . remember, mccain was the chief proponent in the senate for the iraq war surge in 2007 and hagel was its biggest critic.
>> but manu, how do they not consider him a republican anymore when it was john mccain who was nearly booed off stage when he brought up um grags refor -- immigration reform . and thus he abandoned the notion of a comprehensive reform there. does he identify with chuck hagel ? both have seen the bitter pill they've had to swallow from their own party .
>> look, relationships matter a lot in the senate. this is a situation where a republican has really frayed relations with many members in his own party because of the stances he took in iraq and on other issues. remember, tamron, a lot of these republican senators who voted against him didn't serve with chuck hagel . it's a very new, younger republican conference. they really only know him from the anti- iraq positions that he took, as well as some of the other thing he's did, such as endorsing deb fisher's opponent.
>> to that point, roger, the senator was on msnbc earlier today. here what's he said. it has nothing to do with the personal issues laid out by senator mccain . let me play it.
>> this doesn't have anything to do with a grudge. this has something to do with picking the best person to be the leader of the largest defense organization in the world. he's not the right guy for dod. he's well to the left of the policies of the obama administration.
>> so, michael, the president says he's all in. earlier this week chuck hagel 's brother indicated he does not plan to withdraw his name. so where do you believe this will go?
>> you know, it's a great question. i think everything you've been airing is actually valid. i this it's true that republicans are angry with hagel partly because they feel like he sort of betrayed the party . it happens on both sides. when joe lieberman said some things the democrats didn't like, he wasn't exactly welcomed into his own party . it's not a way to make friends in washington . there's a certain amount of healthiness in people being willing to challenge their own party but it does tend to cost them. my guess if senator hagel continues to work hard on refining and correcting on what he said on iran policy, for example, where he did have some problems in his hearings and democrats admit that, too, if he spells out a bit more of his thinking on sequestration and what defense cuts he thinks would be acceptable and what cuts may be too far, he may have to stayin ga iengaged in the policy debate to get the few republicans he needs to get to 60 votes. i think it probably will ultimately work. you know, this is some real strong opposition, no doubt.
>> let me read a little bit of the "new york times" op-ed. it says "the most dishonest aspect of this debacle was that republicans denied they were filibustering, claiming they were wanting to prolong debate for a while and all major vote require 60 supporters. that of course is the very definition of the filibuster, now so routine republicans can no longer acknowledge what they're doing. your reaction to that, manu?
>> republicans are in a difficult position because they did oaf potion hagel for a number of reasons but they were worried about taking that position. ne know once you -- they know once you set a precedence, it can come back to bite you. they know they're not going to kill his nomination. it's difficult because they don't like hagel and they don't know exactly how far to go.
>> if he does get confirmed and goes ahead, is he a damaged secretary of defense?
>> i think the events that are happening in washington with sequestration looming are frankly so big, that whether he's damaged or not, whether he came in on a perfect tail wind or came in damaged, he's going to prove his mettle on how he handles the next few weeks. big are things will quickly take over because we had such big issues before us. the kind of things that will happen to the department of defense if sequestration occurs is so bigs how he manages that will trump what's happening now.
>> i appreciate you gentlemen joining me. thank you.