6:00 a.m. E.T.
After a long period of pounding on a range of issues, Chuck Hagel is getting some backup.
Still in play to serve as part of President Obama’s second term national security team, the former Cornhusker senator has been in limbo as, in effect, a phantom nominee, getting Riced, as his detractors have gone on the web and on the air to denigrate him, and/but without the benefit of a formal nomination on any concerted backup from the White House.
Now a former Hagel Senate aide says that a high-profile mix of supporters from the military, national security, and foreign policy arenas are lining up to aggressively promote and defend Hagel’s credentials — motivated by what they view as unfair and baseless attacks on his record and character.
Already out: a statement of support from some prominent American diplomats. Later today, a letter is planned for release signed by a number of generals and admirals in support of Hagel’s national security qualifications. Expected soon: a joint statement from former National Security Advisors from both Democratic and Republican administrations.
Hagel’s backers don’t think it is too late to save his nomination, and his reputation. But with gay rights groups joining the parade of criticism that until now has primarily been confined to Hagel’s past statements on foreign policy, the Nebraskan’s posse has some repair work to do.
UPDATE: Here’s the letter from retired admirals and generals in support of Hagel.