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Chuck Hagel: why his candidacy for Defense post is losing altitude

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On Wednesday these charges were met by a published letter from four former US national security advisers, who wrote to “strongly object, as a matter of substance and as a matter of principle, to the attacks on the character” of Hagel, noting that such treatment will “only discourage future prospective nominees from public service when our country badly needs quality leadership in government.”

Those sentiments aside, Hagel’s former colleagues in the Senate are not exactly rushing to his defense. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who in 2008, as the Republican presidential nominee, said there might be a place for Hagel in his own administration, recently expressed reservations about Hagel’s candidacy for the Defense post, calling his remarks about the Israel lobby “inappropriate.”

"There's no such thing as a Jewish lobby," McCain said when asked about Hagel’s comments. "There's an Armenian lobby, there's not a Jewish lobby. There's an Israeli lobby. It's called AIPAC, very influential."

In Hagel’s defense, meanwhile, some Jewish supporters  have begun to step forward to call the anti-Semitic label not just unfair, but slanderous.

“He’s one of the most experienced and knowledgeable people in American policy today when it comes to national security matters, and I think the president would be very well-served by a veteran with a deep grasp of both the potential and the limitations of military power,” says Jeremy Ben-Ami, President of J Street, a pro-Israel liberal Jewish lobby group.

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