Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, opened Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearing by arguing that the former Nebraska senator was unfit to be defense secretary.

On many national security issues, "Hagel's record is deeply troubling and out of the mainstream," Inhofe said, citing in particular the senator's opposition to some Iran sanctions. Hagel's worldview, he said is "predicated on appeasing our adversaries while shunning our friends." As defense secretary, he said, Hagel would continue the "misguided policies of the president's first term."

The conservative senator made many of the same points in a recent Washington Post op-ed.

Inhofe spoke after committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who used his opening statement to advocate against cuts to the size of Afghan security forces.