President Barack Obama nominated former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense Monday, but winning the nomination requires the support of the Senate, which could be much tougher to come by.
Hagel is a moderate Republican from Nebraska. He retired from the Senate in 2009, and seems to be the nominee without either party's unyielding support.
The Vietnam War veteran and the recipient of the purple heart, Hagel would be the first enlisted soldier in the military to rise to the ranks of defense secretary. While Hagel is a Republican, his views on foreign policy alarm some of his GOP colleagues. During his time in the Senate, Hagel was verbose in his opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he voted against sanctioning Iran on multiple occasions and has suggested Israel should negotiate with Hamas directly. Republicans and Democrats alike worry he's not a strong enough friend to Israel and many are concerned about past statements he has made in opposition to gay rights. Hagel has since apologized for the statements.
Here's the roster for Team "Yay"gel, team "Nay"gel, and the maybes.
Team "Nay" gel
GOP Sens., Ted Cruz and John Cornyn
Both Texas senators have pledged to vote against Hagel's nomination. Cruz, the outspoken freshman, has been among the most vocal in his opposition to Hagel, who he said is not a friend to Israel. "It is very difficult to imagine a circumstance in which I could support his nomination," Cruz said on Fox News Sunday. Cornyn said he cannot endorse anyone who would suggest Israel negotiates with the terror group Hamas. "His opposition to Iranian sanctions and support for direct, unconditional talks with its leaders is both at odds with current U.S. policy and a threat to global security. To make matters worse, he has called for direct negotiations with Hamas," Cornyn said in a statement.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham
Graham was among the GOP Senators who opposed Obama's Secretary of State-contender Susan Rice, and Graham says Obama has chosen another contentious pick he isn't keen on supporting. Graham serves on the Armed Services Committee and is one of three senators who is currently serving in the Army National Guard or Air Force Reserves. "It is a controversial choice," Graham said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday. "Chuck Hagel, if confirmed to be the secretary of defense, would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense toward the state of Israel in our nation's history...This is an in-your-face nomination from the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel."
Log Cabin Republicans
The GOP pro-gay rights group says it cannot get behind Hagel's nomination because of his past stance on gay marriage and his opposition to repealing "Don't ask, don't tell." The group took out a full-page ad in the Washington Post Monday highlighting his positions on gay rights over the years titled "Too Little, Too Late." [MORE: McChrystal Endorses Hagel]
"At Chuck Hagel's request, we looked into the 'totality' of his public record on gay rights, and it did nothing to assuage our concerns that his anti-gay record makes him the wrong choice to oversee the ongoing integration of gays and lesbians in the military," stated Gregory T. Angelo, Interim Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans. "Until his name surfaced as a potential nominee for Secretary of Defense, he has stood firmly and aggressively against not only gay marriage, but also against gay people in general."
Maybe Hagel, maybe not.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
McConnell says time will tell whether Hagel wins his support. He said he expects his former colleague to face tough questions from Republicans. "I am going to wait and see how the hearings go, and whether Chuck's views square" for the post, McConnell said on ABC Sunday.
"He's certainly been outspoken in foreign policy and defense over the years," McConnell said, prior to the official announcement. "The question we will be answering, if he is the nominee, is do his views make sense for that particular job. I think he ought to be given a fair hearing, like any other nominee, and he will be."