Ayotte grills Hagel at confirmation hearing
In a hearing marked by tough questions and exchanges, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte questioned Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s pick for Secretary of Defense, on topics from Iran to unilateral disarmament.
Hagel has been the subject of increasing scrutiny from a wide array of sources, with numerous groups launching national advocacy campaigns against his confirmation to the post in Obama’s cabinet.
“In July of 2001 you were one of only two senators to vote against extending the Iran Sanctions Act…also, in 2008, you were again one of two within the Banking Committee to vote against the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability Act of 2008,” Ayotte said, a pointed reminder of the questions surrounding Hagel’s stance on Iran.
Hagel, a former Republican Senator from Nebraska, countered charges that he’d blocked unanimous consent on a previous bill sanctioning Iran by stating it was part of an effort by the Bush administration to establish multilateral sanctions instead of a bill passed in America.
Ayotte further questioned his name’s attachment to a report that illustrated unilateral nuclear disarmament, another subject of controversy which Hagel has increasingly distanced himself from in recent weeks.
His counter was that the report was merely an illustration of the possibilities that exist, calling “could” the operative word, and that it didn’t change his opposition of disarmament.
Below is the full video of Ayotte and Hagel’s exchange: