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National Issues

Ohio's senators are withholding judgment on Hagel
Both Republican Portman and Democrat Brown have reservations

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
In The Region:

Both of Ohio’s U.S. senators are expressing reservations about Sen. Chuck Hagel as defense secretary. And WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that both plan to listen closely to Hagel’s confirmation hearings tomorrow.

Schultze: Brown and Portman on Hagel

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In separate conference calls, both Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman said they’re waiting to hear answers to key questions from their colleague before vote on whether to confirm Chuck Hagel as defense secretary. For Portman, the key is the Middle East.

“How should we deal with Iran? How do we keep our military not just the strongest in the world and the largest in the world, but with a qualitative edge? And what should be do in terms of ensuring that Israel continues to have the strong support of the United States in order to enhance the possibility of a peace agreement?”

Portman says in principle he generally agrees with the position of his Democratic counterpart, Brown, who maintains:

“As long as they’re not way out of  the maintstream or as long as they’re not unqualified or as have some serious ethical problems, the president should get who he wants to serve in his cabinet.

But Brown acknowledges he has some concerns. A coalition including  gay-rights activists and neo-conservatives are pushing against Hagel’s confirmation. Combat veterans groups strongly support the Vietnam veteran.

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