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Administration Abandoning Hagel

Politico’s Mike Allen reported on “Morning Joe” today that Chuck Hagel’s potential defense secretary nomination is on the rocks, after the administration realized there is “not a natural constituency for him.” Don’t ask why it took them that long to figure that one out:

Allen names Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy as the new top two possibilities. Hagel supporters will blame the collapse of his bid on the Israel lobby because it’s an easy target, but it almost seemed like the White House was more concerned with the backlash from the gay community and liberal supporters. The only time Hagel responded to criticism was when the Human Rights Campaign denounced his controversial 1998 comments about a gay diplomat. But he never acknowledged or apologized for his “Jewish lobby” remark, or his refusal to sign a letter condemning anti-Semitism. 

Speaking of which, the Log Cabin Republicans published a full-page ad in the New York Times this morning opposing Hagel’s nomination and calling him “Bad on Gay Rights. Bad on Iran. Bad on Israel.” The White House may have thought it could deal with the Israel and Iran criticism, since it gets that all the time anyway. But when Republican groups start criticizing a potential Obama nominee for having a bad record on gay rights, that’s not a position the administration wants to be in.


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