By Justin Sink - 01/08/13 02:44 PM EST
Cardin argued the president's nominee needed to clarify his positions on a slew of issues, from Iran sanctions to the service of gays in the military.
"He's a good person. I agree with a lot of his positions in regard to Iraq. I certainly believe the president should be able to have his team. But the advice and consent of the Senate is a very important responsibility, we have to do it independently, and there are questions that need to be answered," Cardin told CNN's "Starting Point."
"I want an explanation in regard to his position [on] Iran," Cardin said. "He's been very reluctant to support sanctions on Iran. Iran is a very dangerous country."
Hagel has said previously that while he did not support "unilateral" sanctions on Iran, he did support efforts that involved other nations. On Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney defended Hagel's record on the subject, calling the nominee a "supporter of the broad sanctions regime that this president has put into place against Iran."
Carney went on to herald the program as "a sanctions regime that is unprecedented and which as recently as, I think, last spring, Sen. Hagel wrote about favorably and urged Washington as a whole to continue."
Cardin also said he wanted to know what Hagel's position was on gays in the military, after Hagel opposed the appointment of an openly homosexual ambassador during the Clinton administration. And Cardin said he wanted Hagel to better explain his philosophy on the use of military force.
"It's going to be about, I understand his reluctance to use our military, but will he stand strong against those who threaten us in support of terrorism?" Cardin said.
The Maryland senator said he hoped for "an open and fair nomination process," but refused to guess how Hagel's nomination would turn out.
"I think it's too early to make a prediction as to how his confirmation process will go," Cardin said.