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THE DANCE

Obama’s Priorities: Immigration, the Economy, Energy, Taxes; Hagel Still Front Runner for Defense (Video)

Last week, Miami Beach's Jewish elderly population's favorite presidential candidate Pat Buchanan endorsed Hagel’s nomination.
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Photo Credit: NBC

Because we’re the Jewish Press, we’ll start with the Chuck Hagel nomination for Secretary of Defense, and move down from there. Speaking with David Gregory on Sunday’s Meet the Press, President Barack Obama voiced strong support for the former Republican Senator from Nebraska. The president insisted, however, that he was yet to make the final decision on the nomination.

In preparation for the nomination dance, Hagel released a statement Friday apologizing for comments he made in 1998 about a gay ambassadorial nominee. Hagel had come under fire in recent days for calling James Hormel, President Clinton’s nominee for ambassador to Luxembourg, “openly, aggressively gay.”

Sounds dangerous…

Hagel’s statement was published by the Washington Post: “My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive. They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights. I am fully supportive of ‘open service’ and committed to LGBT military families.”

Emphasis on “military.”

Last week, Miami Beach’s Jewish elderly population’s favorite presidential candidate Pat Buchanan endorsed Hagel’s nomination.

Among Hagel’s many qualifications, Buchanan wrote, are his views on Iran, and if the president himself decides against going to war, he’ll have to make the case regardless of whether he nominates Hagel: “If Obama does not want that war, he is going to have to defeat the war party. Throwing an old warrior like Chuck Hagel over the side to appease these wolves is not the way to begin this fight. Nominate him, Mr. President. Let’s get it on.”

Buchanan admitted that Hagel had a few Jewish skeletons in his closet. Like when he told author Aaron David Miller that the “Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up” on the Hill. Or when he urged the U.S. to talk to Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. Or when Hagel said, a few years back, that “a military strike against Iran … is not a viable, feasible, responsible option.”

Both Buchanan and Hagel have been accused of anti-Semitism, Hagel for saying the Jewish lobby wields too much influence on Capitol Hill and Buchanan for—oh, take your pick…

He’s how the president approached the subject of Hagel nomination on Meet the Press, courtesy of policymic.com:

GREGORY: “Former Senator Chuck Hagel has come under criticism for some comments he’s made including about a former ambassador nominee during the Clinton years that being gay was an inhibiting factor to being gay to do an effective job. Is there anything about Chuck Hagel’s record or statements that’s disqualifying to you, should you nominate him to run the Defense Department?” …

OBAMA: “Not that I see. I’ve served with Chuck Hagel. I know him. He is a patriot. He is somebody who has done extraordinary work both in the United States Senate. Somebody who served this country with valor in Vietnam. And is somebody who’s currently serving on my intelligence advisory board and doing an outstanding job.

“So I haven’t made a decision on this. With respect to the particular comment that you quoted, he apologized for it. And I think it’s a testimony to what has been a positive change over the last decade in terms of people’s attitudes about gays and lesbians serving our country. And that’s something that I’m very proud to have led.”

* * * And now, because there are other things of concern happening in the world other than the question of whether a non-ally of Israel replaces Leon Panetta, here are some quotes from today’s interview:

GREGORY: “If you go over the cliff, what’s the impact in the markets?”

OBAMA: “Obviously, I think business and investors are going to feel more negative about the economy next year. If you look at projections of 2013, people generally felt that the economy would continue to grow, unemployment would continue to tick down, housing would continue to improve. But what’s been holding us back is the dysfunction here in Washington. And if people start seeing that on January 1st this problem still hasn’t been solved, that we haven’t seen the kind of deficit reduction that we could have had had the Republicans been willing to take the deal that I gave them, if they say that people’s taxes have gone up, which means consumer spending is going to be depressed, then obviously that’s going to have an adverse reaction in the markets.”

* * * GREGORY: “How accountable are you for the fact that Washington can’t get anything done and that we are at this deadline again? … You’ve had a tough go with Congress.”

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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2 Responses to “Obama’s Priorities: Immigration, the Economy, Energy, Taxes; Hagel Still Front Runner for Defense (Video)”

  1. It looks like President Obama will nominate Chuck Hagel on Monday.

    A Hagel win makes a nuclear armed Iran more likely.

    It will certainly harm any chance of a negotiated settlement. Why would you buy the cow if you can drink the milk for free?

    Please contact your Senator to ask them to vote no on Hagel.

    Here are some contacts.

    Gillibrand, Kirsten E. – (D – NY) Class I.
    478 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510.
    (202) 224-4451
    Web Form: http://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/contact/.

    Schumer, Charles E. – (D – NY) Class III.
    322 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510.
    (202) 224-6542
    Web Form: http://www.schumer.senate.gov/Contact/contact_chuck.cfm.

    Lautenberg, Frank R. – (D – NJ) Class II.
    324 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510.
    (202) 224-3224
    Web Form: http://www.lautenberg.senate.gov/contact/routing.cfm.

    Menendez, Robert – (D – NJ) Class I.
    528 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510.
    (202) 224-4744
    Web Form: menendez.senate.gov/contact/.

    Blumenthal, Richard – (D – CT) Class III.
    702 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510.
    (202) 224-2823
    Web Form: http://www.blumenthal.senate.gov/contact/.

    Nelson, Bill – (D – FL) Class I.
    716 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510.
    (202) 224-5274
    Web Form: http://www.billnelson.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm.

    Boxer, Barbara – (D – CA) Class III.
    112 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510.
    (202) 224-3553
    Web Form: http://www.boxer.senate.gov/en/contact/.

    Cardin, Benjamin L. – (D – MD) Class I.
    509 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510.
    (202) 224-4524
    Web Form: http://www.cardin.senate.gov/contact/.

    Mikulski, Barbara A. – (D – MD) Class III.
    503 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510.
    (202) 224-4654
    Web Form: http://www.mikulski.senate.gov/contact/.

  2. jakesarna says:

    Wow, Obama really thinks everyone else is a sucker. Obama says Hagel “apologized” for that comment. Yeah, it’s a little too convenient that hagel apologizes 1 day before this interview, and that his apology was only directed to the gay community. Wouldn’t you think that if there’s 2 major comments that Hagel said that offended 2 different groups he would have killed 2 birds with one stone? Why didn’t he apologize to the Jews for that comment also? And now we get back to Obama and everyone else a sucker. He told Hagel to apologize for the gay comment and I wouldn’t be surprised if he told him that he didn’t have to for the Jewish lobby comment. We all can see where this is going. Obama swore he would handle Iran if it continued enrichment. And Obama loves to play dumb when there’s an issue he wants to duck. And Hagel will be handling Iran the exact same way Obama wants it handled, but we’re now all of a sudden going to be hearing that Obama is only “listening to his peers”. Let’s get one thing straight, whenever Obama wants something done, he’ll do it regardless of everyone else’s opinion except (valerie jarret). While Obama says wonderful things about Israel (as talking points only ie unshakable), I have no doubt Obama is secretly/privately isolating Israel more and more. He never stands up to Erdogan when he threatens Israel thus enabling Turkey to embrace radical islamafacation, he secretly helped the Muslim brotherhood take control of Egypt and across the ME. You see what Obama is doing is building houses of cards all over the world. The shift is happening at such a rapid pace, but it’s like a Booby trap. When Obama is out of the office, and let’s say a republican wins 2016. And don’t appease like Obama, the cards start crumbling and all of a sudden we find ourselves with a middle east that looks like those protests on 9/11/12 24 hours a day, but with a difference, the radical Muslim brotherhood in power (and getting US taxpayer money).

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