Republican Senator McCain says Hagel "not qualified" as defense secretary

WASHINGTON Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:37am EST

U.S. Senator John McCain (D-AZ) questions former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (Not Pictured) during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Hagel's nomination to be Defense Secretary, on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. Senator John McCain (D-AZ) questions former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (Not Pictured) during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Hagel's nomination to be Defense Secretary, on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 31, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senator John McCain on Sunday said his former colleague Chuck Hagel was not qualified to be U.S. defense secretary but the Senate would likely vote on his nomination rather than hold it up with procedural hurdles.

Before going on a weeklong recess, Republican lawmakers succeeded in delaying a Senate vote on Hagel's nomination earlier this month. Hagel is expected to win confirmation if a vote is held because Democrats control 55 votes in the 100-seat Senate.

"I do not believe that Chuck Hagel, who is a friend of mine, is qualified to be secretary of defense," McCain of Arizona said on CNN's "State of the Union" show.

"I believe that when the questions are answered, and I believe they will be by this coming week that the president deserves an up or down vote" on Hagel, said McCain, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Hagel's nomination was likely to go for a vote in the Senate "barring some additional revelation," he said.

Hagel, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, angered Republicans when as senator he broke from his party by opposing former President George W. Bush's handling of the Iraq war.

Republicans are demanding more information from the administration related to the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, last year.

The Senate confirmation vote on John Brennan for CIA director also faces delay over the request by Republicans for more information related to Benghazi.

"I don't want to put a hold on anybody, but the American people deserve answers about Benghazi. There are so many questions that are still out there, including what was the president doing the night Benghazi happened?" McCain said.

(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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Comments (26)
greybees wrote:
With friends like McCain who needs enemies?

Feb 24, 2013 2:52pm EST  --  Report as abuse
NYpolitico wrote:
this from the same man who chose Sarah Palin as running mate. Old man McCain, your credibility is out the window.

Feb 24, 2013 3:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse
pro2hd wrote:
Senator McCain, as far as Hagel is concerned….I can’t even imagine what he did to pi** you off so bad that you would turn on him in this fashion. If this is the treatment you give to a “friend”…..Jesus, what would it be like if he were your “enemy”? I hate to even contemplate….and for cryin’ out loud Senator, your making it sound like the President was a sentry on the gate at Bengazi and went out on the town for a good time when this thing happened and it’s all his fault! He was probably doing the very same thing you were doing at the time…..most likely having dinner….. with Bengazi the very LAST thing on his mind.

Feb 24, 2013 3:21pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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