Both of Obama's nominees could face confirmation fights

US Capitol Building
Posted at 6:49 PM, Jan 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-07 18:49:00-05

WASHINGTON (AP)-- President Barack Obama is calling on the Senate to quickly confirm his choices to be defense secretary and CIA director -- but Republicans are already making it clear that both nominees could face some opposition.

Republican Sen. John McCain says he has "many questions and concerns" about the choice of John Brennan for the CIA post. McCain specifically mentioned questions about Brennan's connection to harsh interrogation techniques used on terror suspects during the George W. Bush administration.

In response, White House spokesman Jay Carney pointed out that Obama had "banned torture as one of his first acts in office" -- and said Brennan is on the same page.

As for Chuck Hagel, the former Republican senator who is the nominee to lead the Pentagon, some Republicans are continuing to question his commitment to Israel, and whether he's willing to take a hard line with Iran over its nuclear program. Hagel has criticized talk of a military strike against Iran. And he irritated some backers of Israel with his reference to the "Jewish lobby" in the United States.

Hagel told a Nebraska newspaper (the Lincoln Star Journal) today that there's "not one shred of evidence" that he's anti-Israel.