Liberal news organizations are focusing today on wild statements by Texas Senator Ted Cruz about Chuck Hagel: that he has Iran’s endorsement and he may have taken money from “radical and extreme” and “anti-Israel” groups. From TPM:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Tuesday argued that defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel must turn over further financial disclosure information because it’s possible he received money from or gave speeches to “radical or extreme groups.”
“I will point out that right now this committee knows absolutely nothing about the personal compensation Chuck Hagel received in 2008 and 2009 or 2010,” Cruz said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. “We do not know, for example, if he received compensation for giving paid speeches at extreme or radical groups. In my view, given the two letters he received, it is a fair inference to assume that he and those handling his nomination assembled that information, assembled his compensation, and the only reasonable inference, I think, is when they assembled it, there was something in there that they did not want to make public. It may be that he spoke at radical or extreme groups or anti-Israel groups and accepted financial compensation. We don’t know.”
And here is the Cruz statement from the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing yesterday about Iran:
We saw with this nomination something truly extraordinary. which is the government of Iran formally and publicly praising the nomination of a Defense Secretary. I would suggest to you that to my knowledge that is unprecedented, to see a foreign nation like Iran publicly celebrating a nomination.
Senator Bill Nelson:
Senator Cruz has gone over the line. He basically has impugned the patriotism of the nominee… about him in essence being cozy with Iran.
Senator Jim Inhofe, supporting Cruz:
I’d say he’s endorsed by them. You can’t get any cozier than that.
Senator Claire McCaskill, upbraiding Inhofe:
You might have an organization that endorsed you that you find abhorrent.
Senator John McCain stands up for Hagel:
No one on this committee at any time should impugn his honor or his integrity.
Cruz gets eviscerated for several minutes on Morning Joe. Nothing about the Israel lobby in the segment, but Joe Scarborough: “I was stunned.” Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, says that the charges of anti-Semitism about Hagel were also over the line.