Hagel’s Hurdles

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REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque

President Obama shakes hands with Chuck Hagel Jan. 7 after nominating him to run the Pentagon.

To hear Chuck Hagel’s detractors tell it, he’s a corrupt, anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-Israel, Iranian-loving, Castro-loving chicken-hawk who will hide behind his two Vietnam Purple Hearts as he slashes the Pentagon budget and gets rid of America’s nuclear arsenal. For all these reasons, they say, Hagel should not succeed Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense . The show moves to center stage Thursday morning as Hagel’s confirmation hearing opens before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Outside groups have mounted one of the largest opposition efforts against a cabinet nominee in history. Not since Moveon.org’s successful opposition to George W. Bush’s pick of John Bolton as United Nations ambassador has a nominee undergone such scrutiny (Bolton, when blocked by the Senate, was eventually appointed to the job during congressional recess). And that was before the Citizens United case; Hagel has to contend with millions of dollars in negative television ads and mailers.

Full thing here.