Sen. McCain concedes Hagel will be confirmed
By Erik Wasson
02/17/13 11:24 AM ET
One of the leading critics of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), President Obama's embattled nominee to become Defense secretary, told NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday that Hagel will end up being confirmed.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that Hagel will be approved by the Senate even though he is the “most unimpressive” nominee he has ever seen.
“The fact is that Chuck Hagel made statements and took votes in the United States Senate particularly about Iran, his comments about Israel were atrocious, but he will be confirmed,” he said.
“We will have a vote when we get back and I am confident that Sen. Hagel probably will have the votes necessary to be confirmed as the secretary of Defense,” McCain added.
McCain voted with all but four other Republicans on Thursday to filibuster Hagel's nomination. He said Sunday that he did so to get enough time to more closely examine Hagel's record. He said that delaying the vote until after this week's recess provides a reasonable amount of time for consideration.
The senator, who claimed he is still a friend of Hagel's, said he will vote against the nomination after supporting an end to debate.
“I don't believe he is qualified but I don't believe we should hold up his nomination any further. I think it is a reasonable amount of time to have questions answered,” he said.
McCain said he is still pressing for answers on the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Bengazi, Libya that killed four diplomats.
He said the list of unanswered questions shows a “massive cover-up on the part of the administration.”
McCain's comments came on a morning when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also indicated support for ending the filibuster. The vote of either man is enough to cut off debate in the Senate which requires 60 votes to end filibusters.