How did confirmation hearing go for Hagel?
All-Star panel weighs in
- Duration 8:37
- Date Jan 31, 2013
All-Star panel weighs in
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This transcript is automatically generated
Been a dangerous world.
Nuclear -- arsenals and and our containment policy which are mentioned in my statement has been critically important by the way I've just been handed a note.
Misspoke and -- I supported the president's position on containment.
OK if I said it meant to say that.
I'll actually his -- opinion containment we don't have a position on containment we do have a position on containment which is that we do not favor.
It was a long day for Chuck Hagel the president's pick to run the Pentagon and senior.
Administration officials are in fact acknowledging that ticket telling Mike Emanuel in the past few minutes.
Quote it wasn't perfect.
Perfect it was a long day.
Papal made clear he supports the president's policies.
He -- in good faith to address the senators' questions about his past statements and votes.
They found it shocking there were more questions about the war in Iraq -- Afghanistan.
But here's another instance where a democratic senator tried to save hagel from something he said about Iraq.
We have never made any part of -- the legitimate independent government.
Designated them or made part made -- made him part.
Of a terrorist organization.
I can understand if you match.
It has its illegal entity that has international relations and has.
Diplomatic relations and as a member of the UN but I do not see a Rihanna either -- government as a legitimate -- I'd like your thoughts on -- Thank you senator who know what I what I meant to say should have said it's recognizable.
It's been recognized that he is recognizes the United Nations.
Given this a flavor of this hearing it was a long here let's bring in our panel Steve Hayes senior writer for the weekly standard Charles -- opinion writer.
For the Washington Post and syndicated columnist.
-- -- -- Well this has to have been the worst performance by any cabinet nominee in recent memory in the past couple decades.
What you showed there I thought wasn't even the worst I think that the difficulty in in analyzing talking about.
What happened today is actually choosing which things to focus on they were literally twenty or thirty misstatements -- times when he didn't know he was talking about -- he stumbled.
I picked out these four which I thought -- the most important one he didn't seem to know that the sequester cuts actually come from the budget control like he was.
He seems to be shocked by this and talked about in a way that that that was very confusing.
The second was what you played where he suggested that.
Hate quote legitimate elected government third he wouldn't acknowledging repeated questioning.
Fifty Iran revolutionary guard corps.
Was it is a terrorist entity this is not in dispute is not in dispute by anybody you've had senior.
US officials going back years talking about their role in.
Killing Americans in in exporting terrorism and fourth.
He wouldn't acknowledge that the surge worked in Iraq -- despite repeated question from John McCain and others something that is.
I think obvious to basically everybody and the problem with this it's not just that he stumbled -- that he had a bad day.
The problem is this is that we live in a dangerous world right now -- this is a serious position I'm just in the past 48 hours.
We've had reports about -- we started speeding up its its nuclear program we've had reports about al-Qaeda reinvigorating its affiliates we've had talks about.
North Korea and another test you you can't have somebody serving in this position.
Who's so unfamiliar with even the basics.
Of all of these issues and all of the things he talked about -- ended up his testimony today.
In what was really almost a -- move.
That he's not going to be that powerful -- -- people shouldn't be that concerned because he's not gonna be that powerful as Defense Secretary anyway and he said quote.
I won't be in a policy making position that's extraordinary things for somebody like -- -- to say.
Are triplets just play the exchange with McCain on Iraq surge that Steve reference.
Well I would defer to the judgment of history to I sort that out -- -- a dollar Adler right a wrong that's a direct question I expect a direct answer this surge.
I assisted here in the objective but.
That -- if we review the record in the W please answer the question will you correct or incorrect when you said.
That the search would be the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam we are correct or incorrect might -- or no.
My reference to -- or Nancy might change -- hagel.
The question is we were right or wrong that's a pretty straightforward question well I'm not going to give you away.
A yes or no answer a well let a lot of -- show that today refused to answer that question.
Thing that's striking among other things about that chuck is that they were.
Very good friends back in the day but -- your thoughts on this -- overall.
Well I think there this is not the first time a nominee for high office has come to a senate committee with a long paper trail.
-- contains a lot of difficult.
In hindsight things to explain.
But it may be the most in -- artful attempt to defend such a paper trail.
Com you know if I were somebody who shared the views that Chuck Hagel had articulated in the past I'd be very disappointed because.
He sort of abandoned them desperately without even attempting.
To articulate his rationale for having said -- in the first place.
His basic problem when you cut through all the other conversation.
Is that he didn't repeatedly in the past.
Sounded very -- energetic in his criticism of Israel.
And very moderate and soft in his characterizations of Iran that is consistent pattern in his career.
And he now is in the position of saying.
Don't worry about all that I didn't really mean it and so -- the defensive Chuck Hagel after this hearing has to be something like.
Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense he's not a man of conviction.
-- His problem is in the paper trailers problem is.
Lack of confidence.
Look the two lines of attack on him up until today war.
One ideological that the content of what he's been saying over the years -- out of the mainstream.
The way out there to the left of Obama as McCain -- pointed out.
You know he's a guy that the surge completely wrong and he himself called the Iraq -- disaster and -- he's he voted.
To authorize the war so the first line of attack was on the content.
The second was on how -- -- -- Because he's now he's -- been denying essentially the essence of the dozens statements and ideas that heaps said in the past.
And now he says all of a sudden -- -- you know on Iran I changed it.
My mind from the left and the right we should point out on the -- that -- -- issue on climate change shine on a -- all of a sudden you know he's CDC in the life.
And a dozen issues overnight -- them as he's he's he's pleased.
I challenged in congress but what happened at -- -- was shocking because it showed an astonishing.
Lack of confidence and he was wobbly he was weak.
-- As we saw in the first and clip.
He didn't when he said -- when he corrects himself.
On containment and says you know well I was wrong about supporting contained in our policies that we don't have a policy of containment.
It showed he has no idea.
About -- single.
Most grave issue facing the United States containment of Iran or not.
And he was that corrected by a Democrat.
And then on the Israel issue he was completely humiliated by.
When he was that you said the Jewish -- into the show that yes but.
We want to talk about the jobs council the unemployment numbers are coming out tomorrow we can talk about tomorrow we have more to talk about about hagel because there's more sound to play.
So we'll call inaudible we'll do that on the other side of the break.