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Former Sen. Chuck Hagel Apologizes for Gay Comment

Monday Dec 24, 2012

Chuck Hagel, the former U.S. senator believed to be President Barack Obama's leading choice for defense secretary, apologized Friday for remarks he made in 1998 about an openly gay nominee for an ambassadorship.

In a brief written statement, the Republican said his comments about James C. Hormel were "insensitive" and did not reflect his views "or the totality of my public record." The Vietnam veteran served two terms in the Senate, retiring in 2009.

In an interview with the Omaha World-Herald in 1998, Hagel said he believed that for a U.S. ambassador, "it is an inhibiting factor to be gay." He referred to Hormel as "openly, aggressively gay."

"I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights," Hagel said in Friday's statement. "I am fully supportive of 'open service' and committed to LGBT military families."

Hagel, 66, is considered the leading candidate to replace Leon Panetta at the Pentagon, although a number of senators have expressed reservations about a nomination. Their concerns largely center on Hagel's past comments about Israel and Iran. Outside groups have suggested that based on Hagel's remarks, he isn't sufficiently supportive of Israel.

At least two other candidates remain under serious consideration - former Pentagon policy chief Michele Flournoy and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

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  • Oh Jed said:, 2012-12-24 10:14:41

    WTF Chuck!? When a person is being interviewed and they use the words "I believe" in a sentence, its pretty hard to take what he said out of context or pass it off later as someone else’s views. Unless, of course, you’re an interviewee by proxy, an actor or an etche-a-sketch mouthpiece... like whoever that Mormon guy was.

  • Unbreakable1, 2012-12-24 11:12:25

    His ass is just apologizing because he’s being considered for an office. Be a man a stand by what you say if that’s really what u believe.

  • bsinps, 2012-12-24 13:18:30

    What a MORON!!!

  • WayGay, 2012-12-25 14:15:14

    Hello, he’s a republican

  • , 2012-12-26 17:22:25

    Come on I have to remind you that until this past summer our president was not for gay marriage? Can’t people evolve?

  • Oh Jed said:, 2012-12-26 19:29:40

    There is a difference between anti-gay and not pro-gay. I dont remember the President making derogatory comments about gay people before his evolution. Please enlighten me if I am wrong.

  • Cape Cod, 2012-12-28 17:35:30

    Too late Chuck. We all know how you really feel. Just like the other Republicans. Here’s hoping you DON’T get the job.

  • Wayne M., 2012-12-28 20:51:05

    I believe we need to accept Mr. Hagel’s apology and recognize that he is perhaps more sensitive and better informed now on this issue than he was while serving as a Senator. Since he is a Republican, he may also be the best person to lead the defense department at a time when cuts in spending are necessary. Furthermore, there is good reason to believe his approach to Israel and Palestine is well balanced, accepting the fact that both sides in that conflict have real needs.

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