September 17, 2014

Johanns understands Hagel controversy; expects confirmation (AUDIO)

A current Nebraska United States Senator says a former Nebraska United States Senator might well be a lightning rod for controversy, but he will stick with him.

Sen. Mike Johanns says he probably knows former Sen. Chuck Hagel better than anyone in Washington and after studying his record and meeting with him personally, Johanns is firm in his decision to vote for Hagel as the next Secretary of Defense.

Johanns says he understands few are lukewarm about long-time friend.

“So, the people who really like Chuck Hagel are not calling me aren’t calling me at this point,” Johanns tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “The people who really dislike Chuck Hagel are calling.”

The relationship between Johanns and Hagel stretches back for years. Johanns succeeded Hagel in the United States Senate. Both Republicans, the two campaigned together in Nebraska.

Still, even Johanns had to pause and consider the record before he committed to voting to confirm Hagel as the next Secretary of Defense. A perception that Hagel is not a strong ally of Israel worries Johanns. Johanns says the two have other differences as well, but Hagel’s positives outweigh the negatives.

Johanns calls Hagel a provocative guy, who has alienated some in the United States Senate.

Efforts to confirm Hagel were scrapped before the Senate left for a week-long break.

Johanns expects Hagel to win confirmation by the full Senate when the vote is expected to come back to the floor tomorrow.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]