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Group launches ads urging senators to ‘say no’ to Hagel

“While Americans for a Strong Defense lauds Senator Hagel’s service to our nation, we will make the case to voters and elected officials that Hagel's record is far out of the mainstream and his confirmation as Secretary of Defense would send a dangerous message to our adversaries and weaken our ability to defend ourselves,” the group said in a statement.

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The ad cites threats from Iran, North Korea and Russia, and says “Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense wants America to back down” by pushing for “an end to our nuclear program, devastating defense cuts and a weaker country.”

The ads, which will run in North Carolina, Colorado, Alaska, Arkansas and Louisiana on broadcast and cable channels, urge voters to contact their senators to oppose Hagel’s nomination.

Critics have questioned Hagel’s past calls for the U.S. to engage diplomatically with Iran and Hamas, and his opposition to unilateral U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

But in a letter released earlier this month to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Hagel said he fully supports the Obama administration’s Iran policies.

“I agree that with Iran’s continued rejection of diplomatic overtures, further effective sanctions — both multilateral and unilateral — may be necessary and I will support the president,” he wrote.

Hagel has been endorsed by Boxer and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), both of whom were previously critical of Hagel’s stances on Iran.