NBC political director Chuck Todd said Monday there is a “soft count” of 10 Senate Democrats who might oppose Chuck Hagel’s nomination to head the Department of Defense.
“I know of a soft count of 10 no votes on the Democratic side,” Todd said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” adding: “We know Republicans look like they’re going to be fairly united in opposition to Hagel, at least at the beginning. Well, if you’ve got 10 [Democratic] ‘no’ votes, then you don’t have the votes. Hagel’s most important meetings aren’t going to be with his Republican colleagues; they’re going to be with Chuck Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, Bob Menendez, a lot of the Northeast lawmakers who will be nervous when they’ve got donors, Jewish donors upset about comments.”
Obama is expected to nominate Hagel as defense secretary later Monday. Hagel’s votes opposing sanctions against Iran and comments announcing he is unafraid of the “Jewish lobby” have caused pro-Israel groups to oppose Obama’s selection.(PHOTOS: Chuck Hagel's career)
Pressed last month on “Meet the Press,” Schumer pointedly declined to endorse Hagel.
“I’d have to study his record,” he said. “I’m not going to comment until the president makes a nomination.”