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Senator: 'Worst Possible Message We Could Send to Our Friend Israel ... Is Chuck Hagel'

3:17 PM, Jan 4, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Senator John Cornyn, the number two Republican in the Senate, spoke bluntly about Chuck Hagel, the man who President Barack Obama is said to be naming as the next secretary of defense.

"Chuck Hagel’s 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," Cornyn told Eli Lake of the Daily Beast. "To make matters worse, he has called for direct negotiations with Hamas. The worst possible message we could send to our friend Israel and the rest of our allies in the Middle East is Chuck Hagel."

Lake reports that the announcement will come next week:

After averting the fiscal cliff by reaching a deal with Republican leaders on New Year’s Eve, President Obama appears set to wade into a new fight with Congress next week by nominating former Nebraska GOP Senator Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense.

Key Democrats working closely on the nomination process tell The Daily Beast that the president is expected to announce the Hagel selection on Monday or Tuesday. These sources also say Obama did not decide on Hagel until this week, after weighing Ash Carter, the current deputy secretary of defense, and Michele Flournoy, a former No. 3 at the Pentagon, for the job.

When Hagel’s name first floated last month as a possible successor to Leon Panetta at the Pentagon, it drew scrutiny from former Senate Republican colleagues like Lindsey Graham, and even some Democrats like Eliot Engel, a House Representative from New York who is the most senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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