Hagel backtracks, says he doesn’t know any Senators intimidated by “Jewish lobby”

Thursday was a rough day for Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel.

During his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing, Hagel was first grilled by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on the Iraq war. Then Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) came out swinging, asking Hagel to clarify his previous statements on the “Jewish lobby.”

And Hagel had no response.

In 2006, Hagel said that the “Jewish lobby” was intimidating members of the Senate.

“The political reality is that you intimidate, not you — that the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,”  he said at the time. ”Again, I have always argued against some of the dumb things they do because I don’t think it’s in the interest of Israel.”

Yet when Graham pressed Hagel to name a Senator who had been intimidated or a particular “dumb thing,” Hagel could not think of specific example for either.

“Well I can’t give you an example,” Hagel said.

“Thank you,” Graham said. “Do you agree with me that you shouldn’t have said something like that?”

“Yes, I already said that,” Hagel responded.

Hagel had previously remarked during the hearing that he regrets using the phrase “Jewish lobby.”

(h/t Washington Free Beacon)

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