Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who has been prolific in his criticism of President Obama's cabinet picks, is formally objecting to the nomination of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, and is calling on the president's administration to "reconsider" the pick.
Graham, who helped derail U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's bid to be Secretary of State, questioned Hagel's ability to lead in a statement releasd this morning.
"Chuck Hagel is a good man, but these are dangerous times," he said. "What kind of signal are we sending to the Iranians when our nominee for Secretary of Defense seems clueless about what our policy is? I hope the Obama Administration will reconsider his nomination."
During Hagel's confirmation hearings, he mistakenly referred to the Obama administration's policy on Iran as "containment" before correcting himself. The Obama administration continues to support him and has expressed confidence in his prospects at being confirmed.
Indeed, Hagel appears to be on track for confirmation in the Senate. Five Republican senators have said they will not filibuster his nomination, and no Democrats have signaled that they will vote against him. Assuming all 55 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents support Hagel, he would have the necessary 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.
Sens. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Mike Johanns, R-Neb., have said they will support Hagel's nomination; Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., meanwhile, have indicated they would vote to end a filibuster even though they do not plan to support his nomination. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, also said she was "not inclined" to support a filibuster.