“My overall worldview has never changed: that America has and must maintain the strongest military in the world, that we must lead the international community to confront threats and challenges together, and that we must use all tools of American power to protect our citizens and our interests,” Hagel said.
Hagel has come under fire for past statements and positions on Israel and Iran since President Obama nominated him to lead the Pentagon.
Critics have attacked several statements in particular with TV ads, such as his comments that the “Jewish lobby” intimidates people in Washington. Democrats and liberal groups have complained about his calling a diplomatic nominee “aggressively gay.”
The committee’s top Republican said he was opposed to Hagel, calling his record “deeply troubling” and “out of the mainstream.” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) cited Hagel’s opposition to sanctions against Iran, support of downsizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal and saying that the Pentagon budget was “bloated.”
“We are just too philosophically opposed on the pressing issues facing our country for me to support his nomination,” said Inhofe, one of three Republicans to vote earlier this week against Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) confirmation as secretary of State.
“His record demonstrates what I view as a lack of sound judgment and steadfast support for policies that diminish U.S. power and influence throughout the world, as well as a recent trend of policy reversals that seem based on political expedience rather than core beliefs,” he said.
For more on Hagel's hearing, click here.