Fox News suggested that former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) may have trouble getting Senate confirmation from fellow Republicans following reports that he is being considered for the position of President Obama's Secretary of Defense. Fox's objection to Hagel follows previous efforts by the network to obstruct Obama's possible Cabinet nominations.
In late November, Foreign Policy reported that Hagel was being vetted for “a possible top national security post in the Obama Administration,” including the position of Secretary of Defense that Secretary Leon Panetta will vacate. Senators from across the political spectrum, including Carl Levin (D-MI), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) praised Hagel's potential nomination, and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) who specifically praised Hagel's “seriousness and experience.”
Despite this praise, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed Hagel might be opposed by Senate Republicans. Carlson said that Hagel's opposition to the 2007 troop surge in Iraq and his accompanying then-Senator Obama on a trip to Afghanistan and Iraq in 2008 means he is “not a typical Republican” and that “could present some obstacles” to his Senate confirmation.
Indeed, Hagel did voice concerns about the 2007 surge. However, he was not the only Republican to do so. Many Republican senators at the time, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Norm Coleman (R-MN), George Voinovich (R-OH), John Sununu (R-NH) and John Warner (R-VA), all expressed concerns about the 2007 surge.
Additionally, Hagel's taking part in a bi-partisan trip to Afghanistan and Iraq was hardly out of the ordinary. In 2007, then-Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan with then-Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Rep. John McHugh (R-NY). Bi-partisan congressional trips have also occurred outside of presidential campaigns. In April 2011, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) led a six-member congressional delegation visit to Iraq that included Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK). Also in 2011, Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Russ Carnahan (D-MO), Ted Poe (R-TX), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Jim Costa (D-CA) traveled to Iraq. And in September, Lieberman traveled to Iraq with Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Hagel is only the latest target in Fox News' campaign to block the president's second-term Cabinet nominations. The network has mounted a smear campaign against Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Ambassador Susan Rice upon reports of both being considered for Obama's second-term Cabinet positions. Fox attacked Kerry using old falsehoods related to his service in Vietnam, and attacked Rice using falsehoods related to comments she made regarding a September attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.