Weeks before President Barack Obama announced his nomination for Secretary of Defense; Republicans began lining up against the possible tapping of former GOP Senator Chuck Hagel. Now that Hagel a Vietnam veteran is the official pick, some lawmakers in the president's own party do not seem very thrilled about it either. This includes Democratic Senator from Maryland, Ben Cardin who says Hagel is going to have to clarify some of the things he has said in the past regarding Israel and Iran as well as remarks in 1998 questioning whether an "openly aggressively gay" nominee could be an effective U.S. ambassador. This morning Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) joins “Starting Point,” to weigh in on Hagel’s nomination to be the next Secretary of Defense.
Cardin who served with Hagel in the Senate says the former Republican senator from Nebraska is a “good person” and he agrees “with a lot of [Hagel’s] positions in regards to Iraq.” He adds that while he believes the president should be able to choose who he wants to have on his team, “the advice of the consent of the senate is a very important responsibility and we have to do it independently and there are questions that need to be answered.” He goes on to reaffirm that this “is President Obama’s choice,” although Hagel is not who he would prefer to see as Secretary of Defense.
Cardin who also served with Hagel on the Foreign Relations Committee says that if he is granted a private meeting with the nominee he will ask Hagel if he will “stand strong against those who threaten us in support of terrorism,” despite Hagel’s “reluctance to use our military.” He says he would also ask him about his comments regarding direct negotiations with terrorist groups. Cardin says he would also like to know where Hagel stands on “gays in the military” – more specifically his view on “making sure that there’s no discrimination in our military service.”