Whipping the Hagel Vote
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel has a tough confirmation fight ahead of him. Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed concern over Hagel's positions on the surges in Iraq and Afghanistan and gay rights. His first challenge: Making it through the Senate Armed Services Committee, which will hold hearings on his nomination in the coming weeks.
Here's a look at where Armed Services Committee members stand (We'll update this list throughout the confirmation process as Hagel's nomination makes its way through the Senate):
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.: "Hagel is well qualified to serve as secretary of Defense with his broad experience in national security affairs."
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.: "I fully support his confirmation."
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.: Declared his support during meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.: "If confirmed, Hagel would bring the Pentagon his remarkable experience as a combat veteran and outspoken Senate leader. I am certainly going to approach this hearing with an open mind, and I'm looking forward to discussing his vision for the future - as well as his answers to a range of critical questions."
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.: "Throughout his career Senator Chuck Hagel has proven to be a strong and independent leader. He valiantly defended our nation in Vietnam where he earned two Purple Hearts and in the senate served as a voice of pragmatism and principle. I look forward to speaking with Senator Hagel and considering his nomination."
Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.: "I look forward to reviewing Senator Hagel's record and qualifications for the position."
Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii: "President Obama is to be commended for nominating a Republican Senator to serve in one of the top positions in his Cabinet. … He is a widely respected voice on national security issues."
Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in a statement: "I have some concerns about comments he has made about one of our most important allies, Israel, and stances he has taken on Iran sanctions, and believe those will need to be examined in further detail. I hope that these questions and others can be answered during his nomination hearing."
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in a statement: "I haven't met or spoken with either Senator Hagel or Mr. Brennan, but both of these men have served our country with honor and distinction. I look forward to talking with them, hearing their views and giving their nominations my full consideration. In particular, I am eager for the Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearings to take place."
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., in a statement: "[W]e must look at his entire public service record in its totality in the upcoming confirmation hearings. Considering some of the statements Senator Hagel has made, and votes he has cast, particularly regarding Iran policy, tough questions must and will be asked to clarify his views before these hearings are complete. I look forward to a fair and thorough process."
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine: "I believe it would be inappropriate for me to comment at this point on the merits of either nomination, especially since I will be sitting on the two committees which will consider these particular appointments. With respect to presidential nominations in general, however, I believe that the President should have significant latitude in appointing members of his own cabinet and that executive branch candidates deserve the opportunity to have their qualifications fully and fairly evaluated."
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.: "I respect the President's right to select cabinet members, but I have a responsibility as a member of the Armed Services Committee to ask Senator Hagel's views on critical defense policy issues confronting our nation. I will reserve judgment until the hearing."
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.: "As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I look forward to considering President Obama's nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense. Hagel is a decorated war hero with a strong record of bipartisanship on foreign policy and defense issues. I will do all I can to ensure the confirmation hearing addresses important questions regarding the future of our military, the current budgetary challenges facing the country and other important security issues such as U.S. policy towards Iran."
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., in a statement: "Senator Hagel is a war hero and independent leader who's served our country admirably for decades, and so I look forward to giving him a fair hearing in the Armed Services Committee."
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.: "I have serious concerns about positions Senator Hagel has taken on a range of critical national security issues in recent years, which we will fully consider in the course of his confirmation process before the Senate Armed Services Committee."
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: His office tells The Hotline Graham has expressed "serious concerns."
Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb.: Her office said in a statement that she "plan[s] to closely review Senator Hagel's record and look forward to meeting with him to discuss his views on America's role in an increasingly dangerous world."
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.: "While I deeply respect Senator Hagel's brave service in Vietnam, I am concerned by several positions he took as a senator - particularly his long-standing opposition to increased Iran sanctions and his views regarding Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as our close ally Israel. As the Armed Services Committee reviews his nomination, I will vigorously question him on these and other issues."
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah: "The nomination of Senator Hagel presents an opportunity to discuss not only his qualifications for the position and his approach to defending the United States and her allies, but also the specific ways in which he would seek to strengthen, modernize, and reform our national defense. I look forward to hearing Senator Hagel's answers to questions involving these important issues."
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., in a statement: "I plan to meet with Senator Hagel and look forward to the nomination hearings."
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas [pdf]: "Chuck Hagel is not the right choice for Secretary of Defense, and if he is nominated, it is difficult to imagine any way I could support his confirmation."
Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.: "I am strongly opposed to the President's nomination of Sen. Hagel."
Sen. David Vitter, R-La.: "I'll be a no vote on the Armed Services Committee and on the floor."
We still haven't heard from Sens. James Inhofe, R-Okla.; Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.; or Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. -- none of whom have made statements on the record. We'll update this list as circumstances warrant.