Chuck Hagel Secretary of Defense Hearing: Will His Charm Offensive Pay Off?

Will Chuck Hagel’s “charm offensive” pay off?

Over the past few weeks, Hagel has met with more than 50 senators and leaders of special interest groups and lobbying organizations, attempting to “beat back a well-funded, aggressive campaign that has sought to depict him as an anti-Israel, homophobic politician eager to gut the Pentagon’s budget.”

Hagel’s diplomatic tactics, as well as his recent release of a 112-page report in which he struck a more conventional tone on Iran and the U.S.-Israeli relationship, may save his confirmation hearing from tanking in the coming hours.

“We’ve had a very aggressive strategy for tackling some of the issues that have been raised,” a Hagel aide said Wednesday. “I think we’re in a good place.”

“If you read the tea leaves, I think he might get more Republican votes than people might think,” the official said. “Those relationships are important.”