U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) said he anticipates a tough questioning of President Barack Obama’s controversial Defense Secretary nominee former Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel.
“I will be meeting with Senator Hagel later this month in Washington to discuss his nomination,” Lautenberg said. “There are tough questions to be answered, and I look forward to hearing answers directly from Senator Hagel.”
Hagel has early questions specifically coming out of the Jewish community.
PolitickerNJ.com columnist Alan Steinberg, an Orthodox Jew, last month in a post described Hagel as hostile to Israel. “Yet if one studies the rhetoric of Mr. Hagel, it becomes clear that his hostility extends to the American Jewish community as well,” Steinberg wrote. “Hagel has spoken about how ‘the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,’ and how he is not cowed by it.”
In the days leading up to Hagel’s nomination, U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ.) expressed similar concerns about that quote of Hagel’s.
On this morning’s edition of Morning Joe, MSNBC political analyst Chuck Todd included Lautenberg in a group of “soft-count no votes on the Democratic side” that includes Lautenberg’s colleague, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
“We know Republicans look like they’re going to be fairly united in opposition to Hagel, at least at the beginning,” Todd said. “Well, if you’ve got 10 (Democratic) ‘no’ votes, then you don’t have the votes. Hagel’s most important meetings aren’t going to be with his Republican colleagues; they’re going to be with Chuck Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, Bob Menendez, a lot of the Northeast lawmakers who will be nervous when they’ve got donors, Jewish donors upset about comments.”