Colin Powell praises Hagel nomination to head Defense Department
~~ By: Jim Kouri~~
Powell called the GOP -- the party that made him a four-star general, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and secretary of state -- racists, but not one reporter asked him to give proof of that allegation.
Colin Powell, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state, while appearing on a Sunday morning news show stated that he strongly supports former GOP U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel being confirmed as the next Secretary of Defense.
Powell, a Republican who endorsed Barack Obama for president, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he expected Hagel to garner the Senate's confirmation despite any controversies.
"I think he ultimately is superbly qualified based on his overall record, based on his service to the country, based on how he feels about troops and veterans and families," said the retired four-star general, who served in the George W. Bush administration.
"While I respect Gen. Powell's military service, he is far from being a conservative Republican and his support of Obama tells me Powell is either ignorant of radicalism or a politician with his own personal agenda," said political strategist Mike Baker.
Powell said he believes that Hagel will finally get confirmed by the Senate as will John Kerry as secretary of State and John Brennan as CIA director.
Last Monday, Obama announced his nomination of Hagel as Leon Panetta's replacement as defense secretary, and the White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to head the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). However, both nominees are expected to face challenges on Capitol Hill.
Several Republican lawmakers are not happy with the prospect of Hagel running the Defense Department. For example, Congressman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, voiced serious reservations on Thursday regarding Hagel's fitness to serve.
"As a member of Congress and the House Armed Services Committee, I join many of my Congressional colleagues in holding the most serious of reservations to the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel to lead our nation's Department of Defense," said the six-term congressman.
"The Department of Defense (DoD) is facing more challenges today than I have seen in my lifetime. If sequestration goes into effect, we are facing the smallest Army since 1950 and the smallest Navy since 1915. While I believe that every single government agency has room to cut wasteful spending, I agree with current DoD Secretary Panetta that an across the board cut to defense spending will prove 'devastating,'" Franks stated.
Franks pointed out that former-Senator Chuck Hagel, when asked about sequestration, refused to concur with Secretary Panetta's assessment and, instead, agreed that the DoD needs to be 'pared down.'"