For the first time in history the Secretary of Defense nominee is filibustered.
On January 7, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Charles Timothy "Chuck" Hagel to replace Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense. With experience in the military, business and politics, Hagel was a qualified and obvious choice. He received two Purple Hearts for his work as an infantry squad leader during the Vietnam War. After the war, Hagel co-founded Vanguard Cellular, which became the largest independent non-wireline cellular carrier during the 1990s. He also served as CEO of American Information Systems Inc., which computerized voting machines, as well as president of the McCarthy Group, an investment banking firm and as a professor at Georgetown University. In 1996 he ran for the United States Senate as a member of the Republican Party and won. Hagel represented Nebraska in the U.S. Senate until he retired in 2008.
On February 12, 2013, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved the nomination of Hagel with a 14-11 vote. However, two days later, the Republicans stalled the nomination process, saying they needed more time to review his nomination. It was the first time in U.S. history that a Secretary of Defense nominee was filibustered.
Hagel Under Fire
As soon as Hagel received the nomination, it was assumed that some Republicans would vote against him for various reasons. One reason was Hagel's previous policy positions, which often contrasted to many Republicans. While in the Senate, Hagel supported defense cuts, opposed preemptive action against Iran and supported talks with Hamas and Hezbollah. His stance on the latter issue increased a belief by some that Hagel's opinions verged on being anti-Semitic. In a 2006 interview with Aaron David Miller, Hagel stated that the "Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people" and "I'm not an Israeli senator. I'm a United States senator." Hagel had to later clarify that he was referring to the...