Bloomberg News is reporting that former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel has cleared the White House’s vetting process and is the leading candidate to succeed Leon Panetta as secretary of defense. According to the Bloomberg report, Hagel is awaiting the final word from President Obama. For my piece on Hagel over on the homepage, I spoke with a current Hagel staffer who declined to comment on any aspect of the process.
CNN’s Jessica Yellin asked White House press secretary Jay Carney about a potential Hagel nomination during today’s press briefing, focusing in particular on the controversial stances the former senator has taken on Israel and Iran. Carney declined to comment, except to say that “the president thinks very highly of Senator Hagel” and that “a lot of people in Washington and around the country, and especially in Senator Hagel’s home state, think very highly of him.”