The Corner

Santorum: Hagel Further to Left than Obama

Rick Santorum is determined to do what he can to thwart the appointment of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense.

“We shouldn’t be confirming policy people to those very important positions who are to the left of [and] more wrong than the president on some of the most important national-security threats of the day,” Santorum says in an interview.

In the past he says, he’s given “very broad latitude to presidents to pick their cabinets,” generally voting for the nomination of cabinet appointees during his time in the Senate. But this time around, Santorum plans to use his platform — and his organization, Patriot Voices — to promote opposition to Hagel’s confirmation.

Hagel’s views on the Middle East, particularly on Iran and Israel, have Santorum concerned that Hagel isn’t the right person to lead the Defense Department.

“It’s one thing if the president was going to pick somebody who shared his points of view on these issues and was going to work in line with the president,” Santorum remarks. “I would expect a nominee like that. I wouldn’t like a nominee like that, but I wouldn’t oppose a nominee like that.”

He also doesn’t think opposition to Hagel should be seen as a party-driven matter.

“This isn’t a left-right issue,” Santorum says. “Everything I did on Syria and on Iran and on Israel, I did in conjunction with Barbara Boxer and with Chuck Schumer and whole bunch of other folks. So we’ve had bipartisan agreement on that, and the president has been out of step with that. Chuck Hagel is more out of step with that.”

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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