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.