Unlike Sen. John Kerry’s hearing last week, it’s been no lovefest for Hagel. The Nebraska Republican struggled to defend his record on Iran, Israel, nuclear weapons and more.
Didn’t have time to watch eight hours of confirmation hearings? That’s what we’re here for.
Here are the five most interesting and important bits.
1. Hagel vs. Inhofe: Ranking Republican Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) started the hearing off on a combative note, asking Hagel to affirm multiple votes but refusing him time to explain them.
2. Hagel vs. McCain: Hagel sparred with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) over whether or not the surge in Iraq was a good idea. McCain wanted a “yes” or a “no”; Hagel refused to give him one. Worth noting: Hagel and McCain used to be friends.
3. Hagel vs. Graham: Multiple senators asked Hagel why he referred to advocates for Israel as “the Jewish lobby” who “intimidate” senators into doing “dumb things.” Only Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) demanded to know what dumb things lawmakers had done on that lobby’s behalf, and which senators were intimidated into doing them. Hagel did not answer.
4. Hagel on Vietnam: In a somewhat rare moment of eloquence, Hagel spoke passionately of how his service in Vietnam has informed his worldview.
5. Hagel vs. Cruz: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) shook up the hearing by playing clips of a 2009 interview Hagel gave to Al Jazeera. What followed was a testy exchange over Israel and America’s role in the world.