John McCain: Just Confirm 'Unimpressive' Hagel Already

Lindsey Graham, John Barrasso similarly unimpressed

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 17, 2013 12:03 PM CST

(Newser) – John McCain thinks Chuck Hagel is "the most unimpressive" Defense secretary nominee he's "ever seen," reports Politico, but that little detail shouldn't stop him from getting confirmed to lead the Pentagon. "No, I don't believe he's qualified, but I don't believe we should hold up his confirmation any further," he said today. Lindsey Graham chimed in, indicating that Hagel had assuaged concern over remarks on Israel, saying, "I will take him at his word until something else comes along"—though he did call him "one of the most unqualified, radical choices" for the job in a long time. Fellow Republican John Barrasso begged to differ with McCain, claiming Hagel's nomination is "being rushed through," and saying he would "be less effective" for it. "I think it is going to impact him as he tries to limp across the finish line to get confirmed." Elsewhere on the Sunday dial, as per Politico:

  • White House chief of staff Denis McDonough on Obama's leaked immigration plan: "We've not proposed anything to Capitol Hill yet . We've got a bill ... we're preparing. We have developed each of these proposals so we have them in a position so that we can succeed."
  • Chuck Schumer on the leaked bill: "I don't know what bill the president has out there. I haven't seen it. But they did say last night—I don't know how it occurred—that it wasn't their final or complete bill."
  • Paul Ryan on 2016 in 2013: " The point is I don't know the answer because I'm just not putting a great deal of thought into it. I'm not foreclosing any opportunity. I may, or I may not. We just had an election. We've got jobs to do."
  • Rand Paul on 2016 in 2013: "I would absolutely not run unless it were to win. Points have been made, and we we will continue to make points. But I think the country is really ready for the narrative coming—the Libertarian Republican narrative."

Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. John McCain questions Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013.
Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. John McCain questions Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
John McCain briefs the media during a press statement at the Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013.
John McCain briefs the media during a press statement at the Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013.   (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
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