UPDATE, 1/7/2013: Late Monday afternoon, President Obama announced that he will nominate Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. This followed reports from CBS, NPR, and other news agencies confirming the news — along with reports that some Republicans intend to pick a fight over the choice:
Reuters quoted a congressional Democratic aide as suggesting that the former Nebraska senator would be named as the replacement for Leon Panetta, with a White House statement expected early next week. This would set up a confrontation with Hagel’s detractors in the Senate, many from his own party, who believe that he has only been lukewarm towards the US’s traditional ally in the Middle East, Israel.
One senator is already venting his opposition:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday attacked former Republican senator Chuck Hagel, reportedly President Obama’s choice as the next Defense Secretary, calling him a “controversial pick” and suggesting that Hagel is out of the mainstream.
That sort of talk doesn’t square with one former senator and a decorated Vietnam hero:
“All this other stuff has been bullshit up ‘til now,” former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA) told TPM Saturday. “When the real decision is made, when the president makes the decision … the Senate plays its role. … I don’t see the United States Senate rejecting Chuck Hagel. Under any circumstance that we can foresee at this point.”