Santorum: Hagel's Elimination Not Certain with Vote

Thursday, 14 Feb 2013 06:48 PM

By Bill Hoffman

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Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said despite the roadblock against Chuck Hagel’s nomination to secretary of defense, his elimination from the process is not assured with Friday’s vote.

“There will be a lot of votes against Chuck Hagel. At this point, I’m not sure that we have enough,’’ Santorum told Steve Malzberg on Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show’’ on Thursday.

Santorum’s remarks came as Hagel’s nomination just hit a major snag by not having the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster at Friday’s scheduled vote. The Senate on Thursday voted 58-40, which is two votes shy.

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“There’s a couple of votes that voted for cloture on the Republican side that I’m not too sure will vote for him in the end. There may be a few Democrats who will vote for him in cloture. This is a funny way the Senate operates,’’ Santorum said.

“This vote was a lot closer than I’d hoped it would be but I haven’t given up hope yet that if we can continue to press the case and the public – and this is really the key.’’

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He called the vote one that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama “forced.’’

“There were many Republican senators who said they might consider for Chuck Hagel, unfortunately, but they wanted more information,’’ Santorum said.

“Particularly financial information concerning potential conflicts of interest, money received from organizations that are, let’s just say, very anti-Israel, very pro-radical Islam, and Chuck Hagel’s refused to turn over that information.’’

Santorum, whose Patriot Voices group is spearheading an anti-Hagel campaign at notochuck.com, said there are also issues about Hagel’s finances.

“There are still some questions about his financial dealings and where he’s gotten some of his income since he left the United States Senate,’’ Santorum said.

“That could be a sticking point for not just Republicans, but for Democratic senators. And, as we saw even today, some further information has come out about speeches which he did not disclose that talk about him saying that the State Department is controlled by the Jews and Jewish lobby.’’

Santorum told Malzberg said he feels bad for Sen. Marco Rubio and the flack he’s taking for pausing for a sip of water during his Republican rebuttal speech following the president’s State of the Union address.

“I happened to turn to maybe 30 seconds before he did that and you can tell he was struggling. He was having trouble getting words out,’’ Santorum said.

“People should get a drink of water and it shouldn’t be a big deal. I feel bad for him because I’ve been in a situation like that and I know he was told you only have so many minutes to do this; you’ve got to crank it out.

“And he just hurried through it instead of taking his time … This was his first big national press. That’s a huge amount of pressure to put on a young guy. By the way, his speech was terrific. That should have been the focus. He had a nervous moment ... But give the guy a break.’’

Asked by Malzberg about whether he will run for president against in 2016, Santorum, who was a candidate for the Republican nomination last year, said he's his keeping options open.

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“At this point, let’s put it this way, we’re doing everything consistent with keeping our options open to run and we’re working hard to try to build out our organization, patriotvoices.com, and we’re trying to have an impact,’’ Santorum said.

“We took on this Hagel nomination, for example, before anybody else really paid any attention to it at all and we’ve been driving the train on this and we will continue.’’



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