Obama Nominates Hagel for Secretary Of Defense

After weeks and even months of speculation, President Obama makes it official.

Former US Senator from Nebraska Chuck Hagel is "his pick" for Defense Secretary.

Now comes the promise of a fight.

Current Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns says he expects tough questions to come from both sides of the aisle.

Many considered Hagel a maverick when he spent two terms in the senate.

As Secretary of Defense, President Obama said Hagel would bring a different perspective to the position.

"He'd be the first person of enlisted rank to serve as secretary of defense, one of the few to have been wounded in war and the first Vietnam veteran to lead the department," Obama said.

"I think this will be extremely spirited," Johanns said. "The sides are lining up both for him and against him, so Chuck is going to have to sell this."

Johanns says Hagel will have to sell and explain comments he made years ago that some critics believe make him cool towards Israel and other statements seen as soft on Iran and Hamas

"Anything that jeopardizes their security or their state will get tough bipartisan support to help Israel," Johanns said. "So the many statements Chuck Hagel has made through the years about the middle east, Iran, and Hamas concern people. That concern is pretty bipartisan at the moment."

Johanns says he considers Hagel a friend and he will keep an open mind about his nomination.

The other senator from Nebraska is Republican Deb Fischer.

Last week, she was appointed to the Senate Armed Services Committee which will hold hearings on Hagel's confirmation.

Fischer released a statement saying she plans to closely review Hagel's record and she looks forward to meeting with him to discuss his views.

She promised a thorough and fair process.

Just last fall, Hagel called on voters to support Fischer's opponent in the senate race Democrat Bob Kerrey.


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