WASHINGTON — Chuck Hagel appears to have weathered a vocal campaign to derail his chances for defense secretary, with President Barack Obama likely to nominate him as early as next week, the New York Times reported Friday, citing unnamed administration and congressional officials.
Since Hagel emerged as a candidate for the Pentagon post in early December, conservatives, pro-Israel groups and gay rights organizations have raised objections to his views on Israel and Iran, as well as disparaging comments he made about an openly gay former diplomat.
Administration officials cautioned that Obama has not made a final decision or offered Hagel the job. But people on Capitol Hill who know Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, have said that all signs were pointing to his selection.
In an interview on Meet the Press last month, Obama defended Hagel, saying that while he had not decided on a defense secretary, Hagel was a "patriot" and that nothing in his record would disqualify him.
Obama could announce the selection as early as Monday.