The anti-Chuck Hagel factions had their say, some of them on Sunday morning political talk shows. This morning, the Obama administration is trotting out its chief national security fixer: former Secretary of State and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. (ret.) Colin Powell.
Hagel has endured an onslaught of criticism from advocates of massive Pentagon budgets, pro-Israel groups, gay rights organizations and Iran hawks since even before President Obama last week formally nominated him to be defense secretary. In sending Powell to the highly rated Sunday show, the White House is sending in one of the most-respected national Republican figures and a respected national security leader. Powell’s comments are most likely aimed at moderate Republican and Democratic senators, many of whom have yet to declare how they will vote on Hagel’s nomination.
But will the move substantially help Hagel? One source who has been involved in numerous SecDef confirmation processes says no.
“It won’t be, by itself, enough. Certainly, having Colin Powell in your camp helps,” the source said. “But these nominees are always judged on their own, not on what surrogates say about them or their views.”
The bottom line: “As a senator, when you got vote, you’re thinking about confirming Chuck Hagel, not Colin Powell.”
Editor’s Note: During his MTP appearance, Powell said Hagel is “superbly qualified” to be defense secretary.