TODAY   |  February 17, 2013

Gregory on Hagel: ‘A lot of Republicans don’t like him’

Republicans say they will vote to approve Chuck Hagel as defense secretary when they return from recess, but only after blocking the nomination last week with a filibuster. TODAY’s Lester Holt interviews Meet the Press host David Gregory.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now, to washington where president obama 's choice for defense secretary remains in limbo. chuck hagel 's nomination is on hold for at least a week while congress is in recess. what's with all the drama involving this vote? david gregory , moderator of meet the press, good morning.

>> chuck hagel is a fellow republican yet we have republicans standing against his nomination. we are used to republicans standing up against the president. why in this case when it seems to be a foregone conclusion he will get through?

>> a lot of republicans don't like him. that's what john mccain said on thursday. there is a lot of ill-wil with him over his criticism of president bush and iraq and the surge. as a result, they are jamming him up. it doesn't ultimately keep him from becoming defense secretary but it does weaken him as well as his confirmation at the hearing. a lot of people in the white house are disappointed.

>> is there is some discussion that this delay might allow them to gather more ammunition against him.

>> it's a question i will ask mcdonough on the program this morning. there are additional speeches that they did not have access to that they think will show certain points about israel that are damaging to his chances. the view inside the white house is there are other to move the goalpost into the mayhem.

>> in terms of image, republicans are looking at their image. are there some republicans that are questioning the wisdom of choosing this particular battle?

>> there are enough republicans that simply don't like hagel, don't like what he represents, don't like the message that the president is sending by choosing him that they are willing apparently to take the hit on this. there is no question that this looks to be similar to what they are criticizing republicans to do on the economy and spending, various battles they have had on the debt, trying to jam the president up.

>> we'll check with you a little bit later to try to find out what's happening on meet the press.