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Hagel mentioned for defense secretary, secretary of state

By   /   November 8, 2012  /   19 Comments

Former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel endorsed Democrat Bob Kerrey just days before the election. Photo by Bethany Schmidt/Nebraska Watchdog

By Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

Although he was unable to help Bob Kerrey land a seat in the U.S. Senate, reports are surfacing that former Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel is being considered for one of the half dozen spots expected to open up in President Obama‘s cabinet.

Politico is reporting that Hagel is being considered for secretary of defense, while Reuters names him as a possibility for secretary of state. Politico put Hagel’s name front and center to replace Leon Panetta as defense secretary. Panetta is expected to stay “only as long as needed,” Politico reports:

There’s a lot of attention here on Hagel, an old favorite for the job who — other than making a last-minute cross-aisle endorsement of Bob Kerrey for Senate this year — has largely pulled out of public life since leaving the Senate four years ago. A Vietnam Veteran and moderate, Hagel could provide the president with a high-profile bipartisan pick.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to step down at the end of January, and Reuters says Hagel has been mentioned as a possible replacement, among many others.

When Hagel endorsed Kerrey last week, several Nebraska Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns accused Hagel of endorsing Kerrey because he’s angling for a job in a second Obama administration. That seemed to infuriate Hagel, who said Johanns’ “doesn’t know anything about who I am.”

“Mr. Johanns is all-knowing and understands everything,” Hagel snapped during a press conference in Lincoln. “If that was my motive, what the hell am I doing in Nebraska?”

Hagel told reporters he’d been offered “pretty senior jobs” by Obama and turned them down. Hagel currently is co-chairman of Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board.

Asked by Nebraska Watchdog (see our video report here) if he would say no to a future offer, Hagel would not comment.

Military.com reports that Hagel was on Obama’s short list for defense secretary before he tapped Panetta for the job in the summer of 2011.

Contact Joe Jordan at [email protected] To subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here.


Joe formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • I doubt it. Hagel has a reputation as a backstabber. He’ll stab Obama in the back too. Obama knows that.

  • Bam

    I guess if Hagel DOES end up with the job, Mr. Johanns WILL know something about who he is. Methinks Chuckie doth protest too much.

  • WTF

    We will soon have the least effective group of congressmen (and women) of any state in the union. I daresay that if there was an objective ranking of congressional representation from all states, Nebraska will next year rank at or near the bottom. Our five reps will play on one side of the aisle only, and will never learn that to make progress you must make nice, compromise and play with everyone.

  • I think Mike is pretty much on target. If Hagel had been offered jobs before, he was probably thinking about the bigger apple.

  • OutWst

    Quite honestly, I don’t see a likely connection between the endorsement and the job.

    I know Hagel has been suggested for a cabinet position since Obama was first elected. I also know that he and Kerrey are tight. And Chuck Hagel isn’t the type who would need a carrot or the approval of anyone to endorse Kerrey for the Senate seat.

    Most important, I don’t think the likes of Mike Johanns could even begin to understand a Chuck Hagel or a Bob Kerrey or what their motivations are. He’s just yapping.

  • What a perfect choice. I really admire Chuck Hagel.

  • Jazzee

    why would that bother obama? he does it all the time

  • Jazzee

    Why is it just the republicans need to ‘compromise?’ Let’s see there are two parties seems to me BOTH need to grow up….and quit taking so much time off and WORK………

  • It’s worth remembering that while Chuck Hagel was chairing GW Bush’s Nebraska re-election committee in 2004, he was simultaneously going on Sunday morning TV almost every week denouncing Bush’s conduct of the war in Iraq. Obama would be stupid not to realize that as soon as something goes awry, Hagel will leak against, and likely openly criticize, Obama.

    I’d be astonished if Hagel isn’t the source of this story. This is what he does. He leaks like a sieve. Obama hates leaks.

    Hagel is bipartisan in the same sense Benedict Arnold was bipartisan. While working for one side, he secretly helps the other. And it’s worth remembering that Arnold died in England a social outcast. The British were willing to use him, but still despised him as a traitor.

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    Hagel was 100% RIGHT in denouncing Bush the Lesser’s BUNGLING of Iraq and LYING to both the American People and the International Community about the non-existent WMD’s Iraq supposedly had, but were never found, as well as the complete LACK of any policy or plan once our military had routed the Baathist government.

    Cheap talk, Gerald, from somebody who has absolutely NO concept of foreign policy, let alone what combat is actually like. Of course, you continually prove that your “expertise” comes from Faux News and Flush Rimjob in repeating their garbage. Chuck Hagel IS a REAL Republican, there aren’t very many of us left, because we’re just tired of being lumped in with all the neo-fascists like you who have highjacked the Party and tarnished what was once a proud brand.

    The only thing evident that “leaks like a sieve” is the space between your ears.

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    And just where exactly does this “reputation” come from, the dark recesses of your conspiratorial mind, or just the fact that Chuck Hagel has said or done something that doesn’t fit your rigid goose-stepping march?

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    Not likely because the “Republicans” have been acting like a bunch of spoiled, entitled little children who if they don’t get EVERYTHING their way, just start sulking and threaten to take their ball home and not play any more. When the “Republicans” are offered everything they wanted years before, but now as a Democratic proposition they refuse it, yes, the “Republicans” are guilty.

    WTF is dead on in the assessment of the Nebraska Congressional delegation: Five little Koch suckers pledged to promote the fascist corporate agenda of two spoiled billionaire brothers from Wichita, KS, to the detriment of the American People.

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    Sounds like jealousy on Johanns’ part, since he was such a TOTAL F-up when he was Secretary of Agriculture and couldn’t even produce a completed Farm Bill in his time in office, then flip-flopped FIVE times on whether or not he even supported his own draft of his own Farm Bill when running for the U.S. Senate. Mikey Johanns is just a boot-licking little quisling who’s pissed that not only will he NOT get any senior committee assignments in the Senate as the Democrats (thankfully) retain control, but his hand picked lap-dog successor as Governor, Davey HeineyMan, won’t be getting diddley since Willard flamed out so badly in his run for President, either!

  • D. Mark

    I always wonder if the people in Washington are the best that we have?
    If Chuck Hagel is up for a Secretary of anything, I will have my answer!

  • Chuck Hagel is among the pro-Muslim shills for bombing Christian Serbs from back in the ’90s. It is disgusting that he is still around in public life.

  • damn, there is some hate going on up in here. i find it funny that the same democrats that are saying “republicans should try to work with Obama because he won the election” are turning around and making the same stupid comments about the people who were fairly elected in nebraska. you cant have it both ways kids.

  • Jazzee

    obama hates leaks??? seriously?

  • Jazzee


  • laviator

    Better move to Washington. Couldn’t win an elected position for dog catcher after his turncoat move in the senate election. Good riddance!