January 31, 2013

THE HILL: Hagel delivers shaky performance.

Hagel stumbled over some answers — describing Iran as having a “legitimate, elected government” at one point — and did little to convert critics who have deemed him unfit to serve as Defense secretary because of his past statements and positions. . . . Hagel was frequently forced during a hearing that ran on for more than eight hours to say that he “regretted” his past statements, such as when Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) brought up Hagel’s statement that Israel kept Palestinians “caged up like animals.”

“If I had an opportunity to edit that, like many things I’ve said, I would like to go back and change the words and the meaning,” Hagel said. “I regret that I used those words.”

The Republican National Committee touted a clip of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) pressing Hagel to name one lawmaker that was intimidated by the “Jewish lobby.”

“Name one,” Graham said.

“I do not know,” Hagel responded.

Graham said after the hearing that was “shocked” that Hagel didn’t have responses to many of the questions coming from the GOP.

It’s not like they came out of the blue.