The Daily Rundown | January 28, 2013
>> targeting defense secretary nominee chuck hagel are unprecedented for a cabinet nomination fight. today a deep dive to find out where is all this bad president coming from, who is behind it? there are at least a half dozen entities in the mix trying to ginn up opposition before thursday's confirmation hearing begins. one of the groups that got involved early is the emergency committee for israel . it's run by the weekly standard 's bill kristol and former presidential candidate gary bauer . the group has spent much of the last two years going after candidates it says are anti israel and running ads against hagel for more than a month.
>> president obama for secretary of defense chuck hagel is not a responsible option.
>> billionaire sheldon adelson has also been linked to anti- hagel efforts both through donations to the republican jewish coalition and reportedly through direct outreach to his republican critics in the senate. washington freebie con has also been accused of running anti hagel articles online. last friday's article described hagel as a "deeply embedded with a network of pro-iran foreign policy groups that have lobbied to lift economic sanctions and boost u.s. engagement with tehran." texas republican senator john cornyn offered a similar line of attack when he criticized the nomination on mon.
>> i cannot support a nominee for defense secretary who thinks we should be tougher on israel and more lenient on iran.
>> the group americans for a strong defense, didn't exist till this month. when it was set up apparently for the sole purpose of opposing chuck hagel . led by former rnc communications director danny diaz and romney visor brian hook the group is running is ads is urging democratic senators to vote no.
>> barack obama 's nominee for secretary of defense wants america to back down. an end to our nuclear program. devastating defense cuts, a weaker country.
>> another group, american future fund has ads questioning hagel 's ethics calling on the senate to post phone the hear. finally a group that purports to be coming from the left supported by members of the gay and lesbian community . the group has contacted voters in seven states as part of what it calls a seven-figure campaign against haggle but its roots some say are suspect. gay rights groups have questioned its authenticity and "the new york times" linked to republican admakers. chuck hagel 's supporters have had their hands full trying to push back against the criticism. with me now is somebody who is trying to push back. a lot of criticism of chuck hagel based on some of the things he has said about israel and what is considered pro- israel and not pro- israel these days in american politics . do you believe any of this criticism is warranted? is any of the criticism brought to light made you say go to chuck hagel and say, can you explain this.
>> no, i think the only legitimate criticism out there that i think deserves to be aired publicly are differences in word view that chuck hagel has on some issues like what is america 's place in the world today, how should we engage ene enemies. that's a legitimate conversation but the smear stuff, the stuff about, to a certain degree, jim inho inhofe's op-ed is basically saying chuck haig is a meat eating oil man, republican and he doesn't want obama to have that brand in his cabinet so that obama can use that is, use the republicanism as a way to basically cut the pentagon into other things and to legitimate as by partisan some of the things obama wants to do. there have been lots of criticisms. chuck hagel has become a sand box for a proxy war whether it's sheldon adelson and others but the israel tough is the worse because hagel has been a strong supporter of israel for a long time. it's been interesting to see this play out.
>> what do you make out of the fact when the president went over there as capped, he realized there were some folks in israel who didn't view chuck hagel as an ally.
>> >> i sort of dispute the notion that that was there. i think the president when he went over separated before i knew about that trip, jack reed and chuck hagel were on the trip and neither went on the israel portion of it because they considered that to be more campaign. the other part was we were engaged in a war and conflict and they made the separation between what was campaign and what was sort of senatorial information gathering. maybe they made a deeper calculation they want want to have haig in israel because he was a touch point. i have doubts about that. let's just say that were true. it doesn't matter in the end. if you are -- this is a political game. if the point is, if you didn't want to the basically rile up folks one way or the other, chuck hagel is someone who is very clearly about not making false choices between one side of america 's equation and the middle east and the other side. that means hugging israel closely but doesn't mean sticking other allies in the eye.
>> you brought up what you think might be the root of what this disagreements is about which is his world view .
>> what is america 's role in the world. bob bood ward quoted hagel in a meeting that he had with president obama back in 2009 where bob woodward believes this is where president obama became intrigued by the idea of bringing hagel into his administration. apparently hagel said to him we are at a time where there is a new world order . we don't control it. you must question every assumption. any assumption ten years old is out of date. you need to question our role. there's no -- i can see myself covering the president how that would animate him. that's somebody that type of thing -- but they do -- the president wants to be more engaged sometimes and it looks like chuck hagel does.
>> i would dispute that. i think chuck hagel is someone who's thought deeply about what strategy do you need to put in place to achieve a new global social contract between the united states and other key steak holders. we've been military little overstretched, economically overstretched. done things morally in the world that raised questions about our leadership in abu ghraib and guantanamo. waf got to the reinvent american power by striking a new deal with other nations in the world where there's a lot of doubt where america is going. hagel has been talking about this for years in a very judicious and i would argue a conservative way, but nonetheless, obama and hagel meet on that because obama could very well be the transformational figure in global fairs we all hoped he would be but in a way that is i would argue nixonian. i wrote a piece once saying obama needs to find his inner nixon by bringing hagel into his cabinet. at the finally has done it.
>> what you just described with hagel would be sort of what the old conservative foreign policy ideology used to be.
>> richard nixon or eisenhower which either side of the line.
>> more interesting conversation but my clock is ticking. mr. clemmons, always a pleasure. thanks for coming in. interesting couple of days when the hearing begins on thursday.
>>> developing now, you're looking at live pictures of secretary of state hillary clinton holding a town hall as we told you right now where clinton is winding down at the state department . her supporters are gearing up for a potential 2016 run. speaking of developments, another member of the president president's cabinet is making it official. ray loo hood is telling the associated press he does plan to leave the obama administration and sooner rather than later. first, white house soup of the day , i could use this is today. minestrone chicken sausage. sounds like a good brothy soup. always good when you're still recovering from this voice issue i have. we'll be right back.