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January 31, 2013

Inhofe renews criticism of Hagel

WASHINGTON D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe says he remains opposed to President Barack Obama’s nomination of former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

In an opening statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Inhofe described Hagel as a “good man,” but added that his record is “deeply troubling and out of the mainstream.”
Inhofe is the top ranking Republican on the committee, which is holding a confirmation hearing for Hagel on Thursday.
Inhofe complained that Hagel’s record demonstrates he will be a staunch advocate for the continuation of Obama’s “misguided policies.”
On the issue of the defense budget, Inhofe says he disagrees with Hagel’s position that the Defense Department is bloated and that the Pentagon needs to be pared down.
Defense nominee Hagel defends his record in Senate 
President Barack Obama’s nominee for defense secretary on Thursday defended his views of the military and global threats in a combative confirmation hearing, pushing back against criticism of his past statements on Israel, Iran, Iraq and nuclear weapons. Chuck Hagel told senators that America “must engage — not retreat — in the world,” and insisted that his record is consistent on that point.
The former two-term Republican senator faced strong GOP resistance and was forced to explain past remarks and votes even as he appeared on a path to confirmation as Obama second-term defense secretary and the nation’s 24th Pentagon chief.
His fiercest exchange came with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a fellow Vietnam veteran, onetime close friend and a potential vote that would carry considerable sway. Politics and Hagel’s evolving opposition to the Iraq war caused a split between the two men that was on full display at the confirmation hearing.
McCain pressed Hagel on whether he was right or wrong about his opposition to the influx of 30,000 U.S. troops in Iraq in 2007. Hagel, who voted to authorize military force in Iraq, later opposed the conflict, comparing it to Vietnam and arguing that it shifted the focus from Afghanistan.

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