Raleigh, N.C. — Politico reports that a group trying to derail the nomination of former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska, to be secretary of defense will begin airing ads in North Carolina.
Americans for a Strong Defense will be the latest group to hit Hagel from the right. As POLITICO reported yesterday, the well-funded American Future Fund is launching a multistate ad campaign against Hagel, and the William Kristol-founded Emergency Committee for Israel has already aired cable ads in Washington arguing the former Nebraska senator is weak on Iran and in his support for Israel.
“Sen. Hagel isn’t the right choice for the Pentagon. We can do better. His views on our national defense and key foreign policy issues are deeply troubling, and they send the wrong signal to America’s allies and adversaries,” said Brian Hook, a former Mitt Romney foreign policy adviser and a former assistant secretary of state under George W. Bush.
The North Carolina version of the Americans for a Strong Defense ad is posted on YouTube and says that Hagel's position that the dense budget ought to be cut would lead to a weaker country. "Call Kay Hagan and tell her to say no to Chuck Hagel, before it's too late."
Hagan, a Democrat, will run for re-election in 2014 and this ad could be viewed as an opening rumble in that battle. Hagel is a moderate Republican who many in the GOP establishment view as an insufficiently strong supporter of Israel. Plus, derailing his nomination would be a blow to President Barack Obama, who is trying to set his second-term cabinet in place quickly.