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."
"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."
But McConnell appeared to be part of the Hagel fan club in 2008 when the Nebraska senator announced his retirement.
"Chuck has earned the respect of his colleagues and risen to national prominence as a clear voice on foreign policy and national security," McConnell said in a farewell address. "Chuck's stature as a leading voice in foreign affairs has earned him a reputation, in just 12 years in the Senate, as one of Nebraska's great statesmen."
Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer
The Jewish senator from New York has traditionally been a strong ally of the White House, but did not offer up his endorsement on NBC's Meet the Press when asked if he would support Hagel. Schumer is still on the fence.
Independent Sen. Angus King
The freshman from Maine is keeping an open mind about Hagel, and said he won't make a decision on whether he will support Hagel's nomination until he has a chance to vet him.
"I start with the premise that the president should be able to appoint his own people," King said on NBC's Meet the Press. "I am going to want to ask some serious questions and hear from Senator Hagel on the issues. He is a guy with a distinguished record and I am going to listen to the answers."
Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp
This freshman is also waiting to hear what Hagel has to say before she gets behind him, but she's certainly impressed by his credentials.
"Chuck Hagel is a tremendous patriot and statesman, served incredibly in Vietnam, served this country as a United States senator," Heitkamp, from North Dakota, said Sunday on ABC. "Let's hear what the senator has to say."
Former Rep. Barney Frank
The first voluntarily openly gay member of Congress and now aspiring Massachusetts interim-senator once bashed Hagel, calling him out for consistently voting against gay rights, and for Hagel's 1998 remarks he would not vote for an "openly aggressively gay man" for ambassador. Before he left office, Frank released a statement attacking Hagel as being "consistently against fairness for LBGT people."
But now, Frank supports the nominee.
"With the attack coming out of the right, I hope he gets confirmed," Frank said Monday in an interview with the Boston Globe.
Frank admits he hoped Obama would give the position to someone else, however, he can look past Hagel's past comments and focus on his policy expertise.
"As much as I regret what Hagel said, and resent what he said, the question now is going to be Afghanistan and scaling back the military. In terms of the policy stuff, if he would be rejected, it would be a setback for those things," Frank said.
Democratic Sen. Jack Reed
Rhode Island's senior senator might be the Democrat to help shore up more party support for the controversial pick. Reed, a former Army Ranger, graduated from West Point and serves on the Armed Services Committee. He also voted against the war in Iraq. "Chuck Hagel will make an outstanding Secretary of Defense. He is highly qualified and his record of service to this country as a decorated combat veteran, successful CEO, senator, and statesman is extraordinary," Reed said in a statement. "Chuck is a man of uncommon independence and integrity."