On "Starting Point" this morning, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) weighs in on the controversy over Chuck Hagel's nomination to Secretary of Defense. He explains why he won't vote to confirm Hagel for the position, and why he thinks Democrats should be worried.
Sen. Inhofe: Democrats should worry about Hagel
Transcript available after the jump.
O'BRIEN: It's a good question to put to Senator Inhofe, who I believe for the third time, maybe our technical problems are fixed. Senator Inhofe joining us this morning. Nice to see you, sir. My apologies for technical problems. Quick question. You've said you're going to vote against any kind of confirmation for Chuck Hagel. Are there the votes to keep him from ultimately being confirmed?
SEN. JAMES INHOFE, (R) OKLAHOMA: I think that you can't count all the votes right now, Soledad. I heard you say there are two Republicans committed to vote for him. That's not very many. And there are a lot of Democrats that have to be concerned with some of the Israeli friends and concern they have had consistently with Senator Hagel in terms of things he has said.
When Senator Cruz came out on the program, on the interview, or had an interview, recorded an interview, and it was really bad, because he agreed with the interviewer that the United States is the world's bully. He agreed that Israel is not a friend. The words they used were sickeningly "slaughter" and all these insulting things to Israel. I can't help but think there are a lot of people having a hard time on the Democrat side confirming Chuck Hagel.
After all, he is the one who has said over and over again that he's been supporting of the Iranians. He is one of only two in the entire Senate that voted against the sanctions for Iranians, and one of four that didn't sign the letter, because I carried the letter around for solidarity with Israel. So these things are concerning. I think that they're going to have a hard time standing up and voting for someone who has demonstrated to be so anti-Israel for so many years.
O'BRIEN: Senator James Inhofe joining us this morning. It's nice to have you, sir. And our apologies for the technical difficulties this morning. Appreciate your time.