President Obama has not even announced his nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) to be Secretary of Defense - but the nomination is already on trial among Washington pundits and politicos who are focused primarily on Hagel's opinions about Israel and remarks made in 1998 about James Hormel whom he said was too "openly aggressively gay" to be ambassador to Luxemburg. Hagel apologized.
"My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive," Hagel said. "They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights. I am fully supportive of 'open service' and committed to LGBT military families."
The Human Rights Campaign, which was among several national LGBT groups that considered Hagel's comments "unacceptable," accepted his apology. "Senator Hagel's apology and his statement of support for LGBT equality is appreciated and shows just how far as a country we have come when a conservative former Senator from Nebraska can have a change of heart on LGBT issues," HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. "Our community continues to add allies to our ranks and we're proud that Senator Hagel is one of them."
On Thursday, however, the Log Cabin Republicans took out a full-page ad in the New York Times opposing Hagel. "Chuck Hagel's weak record on preventing nuclear proliferation in Iran, lack of confidence in our ally Israel as well as an aggressive history against the LGBT community is a no-go combination for a Secretary of Defense nominee," R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans, combat veteran and former alternative representative to the UN Security Council, said in a statement.