“From his lack of support for policies to isolate Iran going back to 2001 to his calls for the U.S. to directly negotiate with Hamas terrorists, I’m troubled by former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel’s tarnished record on Middle East policies. This includes his votes against tougher sanctions on Libya and Iran, a nation that continues to seek nuclear weapons and to call for Israel’s destruction. “I would also hope that Former Senator Hagel’s past support for protecting the interests of terrorist groups over the interests of Israel — America’s most reliable ally — would raise red flags. The bottom line is that Chuck Hagel’s dismal record on issues affecting the Middle East stands in sharp contrast to the stated policies of our nation and he would be the wrong choice for America’s next Secretary of Defense.”
“I think she’s definitely getting a second look after Rice,” said a longtime Democratic defense policy hand, referring to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s withdrawal from consideration for the post at State.
Feminist groups are also pushing the White House to appoint Flournoy.
“There is no doubt that the woman knows her business,” said Marie Wilson, the founder of the White House Project, which advocates for women to take on leadership roles in all spheres.
“It’s Defense — the area where we have the slowest movement of women into top positions,” she said. “It would be a breakthrough.”
Obama’s reliance on the votes of women to defeat Mitt Romney raises the pressure on him to do more than seriously consider a woman for the top job, said one Democratic strategist.
“All the research we have right now shows that if you want to get a better decision, you want a diverse group,” said Wilson, who added that she has worked with Flournoy on several projects designed to help women take on national security leadership roles.