Hagel: Strom Thurmond a ‘Role Model’

by Eliana Johnson

The controversy over the prospective nomination of former senator Chuck Hagel to lead the Department of Defense isn’t dying down. On the homepage, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz weighs in against his nomination. In the Wall Street Journal, Arkansas representative-elect Tom Cotton, an Iraq veteran, argues that Hagel’s opposition to the surge should put him out of the running. 

And the Washington Free Beacon has unearthed the kind words Hagel offered in 1997 for the late South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond. Hagel expressed admiration for the former segregationist Dixiecrat, in particular for “the strong example he has set for all of us, especially our young people,” adding, “He is a true American role model, an American hero.” 

Hagel’s praise for Thurmond is reminiscent of that offered by former Republican senator Trent Lott on the occasion of Thurmond’s 100th birthday. Lott’s remarks ultimately cost him his position as the GOP’s senate majority leader. 

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