“I’m on the record on many issues, but no one individual vote, no one individual quote, no one individual statement defines me,” Hagel said in his opening statement at his first confirmation hearing for secretary of defense.
Republicans and pro-Israel groups have voiced their unease with Hagel’s record, including his opposition to unilateral sanctions against Iran, support for talks with Hamas, opposition to deeming Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, and a reference to Israel-backing groups as the “Jewish lobby.”
In response to similar accusations by Senators at the hearing, Hagel saidÂ “when I voted against some of those unilateral sanctions on Iran, it was a different time.”
“The way I approached every vote I took in the Senate was what I thought would be the most effective,” he added.
The Vietnam veteran and former Republican senator from Nebraska will replace Defense Secretary Leon Panetta if he is confirmed by the Senate.