Cruz to Obama: Pick Lieberman for Pentagon

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised The Senate confirmation process is broken — Senate Democrats can fix it Australian politician on Cruz, vaccines: 'We don't need your lectures, thanks mate' MORE (R-Texas) on Monday suggested President Obama nominate former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) to replace outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelInterpreter who helped rescue Biden in 2008 escapes Afghanistan Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon chiefs to Congress: Don't default Pentagon chiefs say debt default could risk national security MORE.

“We need a Secretary of Defense who is squarely focused on defending the national security interests of the United States, first and foremost, and especially preventing a bad deal over Iran’s nuclear weapons program that could do irreparable harm to us and our allies,” Cruz, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement. 

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“One strong option would be former Senator Joe Lieberman, a member of the president’s own party with deep experience and unshakable commitment to the security of the United States,” according to Cruz. “I urge the President to give him full and fair consideration for this critical position."

Lieberman no doubt would get the stamp of approval from incoming Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Memo: Powell ended up on losing side of GOP fight A pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Virginia race looms as dark cloud over Biden's agenda  MORE (R-Ariz.). The Arizona lawmaker seriously considered naming Lieberman his running mate in 2008 instead of then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. 

Lieberman would also likely be welcomed back by Republicans like Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamA pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Republicans' mantra should have been 'Stop the Spread' Senators preview bill to stop tech giants from prioritizing their own products MORE (S.C.). Along with McCain, the trio was dubbed “The Three Amigos” while serving in the upper chamber together.

However, Lieberman’s hawkish foreign policy views probably put him out of contention for the top Pentagon job.

Former Defense officials Ashton Carter, Michèle Flournoy and Sen. Jack ReedJack ReedSenators ask Biden administration to fund program that helps people pay heating bills LIVE COVERAGE: Senators press military leaders on Afghanistan Top Republican: General told senators he opposed Afghanistan withdrawal MORE (D-R.I.) are seen as the front-runners for the post, even though a spokesman for the senator said he wouldn’t accept the position.

Cruz said Hagel’s resignation “reflects the ongoing damage caused by President Obama's misguided foreign policy of leading from behind.”

He slammed Obama for announcing he would move forward on immigration without Congress, labeling it “illegal executive amnesty,” and calling on Senate GOP leadership to “halt confirmation of all of the President's executive and judicial nominations, with the exception of vital national security positions.” 

Cruz said the Senate should “promptly confirm a strong and qualified nominee” to be the next Defense chief.