New York Times columnist David Brooks said Sunday on “Meet the Press” that secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel’s ability to effectively lead the Pentagon may be so compromised as a result of his confirmation hearings that he should offer to withdraw his nomination:
CHUCK TODD: David, I want to start with Chuck Hagel. You heard what Leon Panetta said. The political knives were out. How much of it was politics and how much of it was a poor performance by Chuck Hagel?
DAVID BROOKS: It was him. You ever had this nightmare you’re back in college, you’ve been nominated to be the defense secretary, you haven’t done any studying all term, and the confirmation hearing is in five minutes? It looked like that. A guy unprepared, unprepared even to defend himself. Look strong – he’s being attacked, his integrity is being attacked, his honesty is being attacked. Hit back. Demand some time. Defend yourself. You’ve got to do that because you’ve got to have the confidence of the president when you get the job, and I think he is going to get the job, you’ve got have the confidence of the generals in the building. And so, this is a problem. If I were Chuck Hagel, I’d go to the president right now and I’d say, “do you still have confidence in me, do you think I can do the job?”
CHUCK TODD: You would offer to potentially withdraw?
DAVID BROOKS: I think you’ve got to if you think you’re not going to be effective because of what’s happened. I’m not saying the answer is yes, but I think you have to go back and privately ask that question.