Cruz stands by Hagel questioning

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Cruz attracted a fair amount of attention for suggesting during the committee hearing that Hagel possibly accepted money from foreign sources. In response, The New York Times reported Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) as saying Cruz's questioning was reminiscent of then-Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) who, in the 1950s, sought to find any secret Communists in the federal government.

Cruz told the Texas Tribune that there has been an organized attack against him in response to the questioning.

"It is interesting that in just a few weeks, The New York Times has repeatedly targeted my defense of conservative principles as objectionable in their view. I think the fact that The New York Times is so hysterical after just a few weeks may perhaps be a sign that we’re doing something right," Cruz said, the Tribune reported on Wednesday.

Cruz said the attacks against him were meant to draw attention away from Hagel's record and also to "distract from Hagel’s refusal to answer reasonable questions concerning financial disclosure."

"I think it is unfortunate that those attacks to some extent achieved their objective, which is changing the conversation from Hagel’s record, which is where the conversation should be," Cruz added. "It’s worth underscoring that my focus in the Hagel confirmation, and my focus in every other proceeding in which I participate in the Senate, has focused on substance and, in particular, Mr. Hagel’s policy record. It has not focused on personal issues, and, indeed, the character attacks that have been raised have been leveled at me for asking questions that I think every senator should be concerned to know the answer."

Hagel was confirmed as secretary of Defense on Tuesday.

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