Gay GOP group criticizes Hagel nomination

Dec. 27, 2012 at 1:34 PM
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NEW YORK, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Log Cabin Republicans took out an ad in Thursday's New York Times saying former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., should not be nominated as secretary of defense.

The group, which represents gay Republicans, cited anti-gay comments Hagel made 14 years ago regarding James Hormel, who was under consideration for a diplomatic post at the time.

Hormel, who is openly gay, was nominated by then-President Bill Clinton to be U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg.

The ad cites part of a quote from a 1998 Omaha World Herald interview in which Hagel said: "Ambassadorial posts are sensitive. They are representing America. They are representing our lifestyles, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be -- openly aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel -- to do a better job."

"Chuck Hagel: Wrong on gay rights. Wrong on Iran. Wrong on Israel." the ad says.

There has been speculation President Barack Obama plans to nominate Hagel to succeed outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Hagel has come under attack from conservative groups who note his comments as senator regarding a "Jewish lobby" attempting to intimidate U.S. lawmakers on policy toward Israel, as well as from Sen. Joe Lieberman, Ind-Conn., who said he would have "serious questions" about Hagel's position on national security issues, the Washington newspaper The Hill said Thursday.

Hagel issued a public apology this month for his comments about Hormel, the newspaper reported.

Hormel told The Washington Post last week Hagel's public apology "had the air of being a defensive move on his part" -- something given "only in service of his attempt to get the nomination."

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