Outgoing Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.) said that should be appointed to the senate his job will be to ‘run interference’ for Chuck Hagel Thursday evening on MSNBC. Frank implied that although he would not be in the senate long, he could lay the groundwork for Hagel to seek more drastic budget reductions at the Pentagon going forward:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: If Hagel gets confirmed, do you think you could help him do the job of reforming at the Pentagon over there and saving some money?
BARNEY FRANK: Yes, I think — well, in the first few months I won’t be there long enough even if I get it. But the job there is to run interference for him. By the way, one of the things I think, some basic politics you understand, Chris, cutting existing weapons systems with all the web of contracts out there can be hard, but what you can do is not start new ones. It’s a lot easier to block projects that shouldn’t be done going forward than to start them and I certainly will be there if I hope he’s going to continue to support the notion of an early withdrawal from Afghanistan – not keep 20,000 troops there forever at a cost of billions and finally I think it’s time to re-examine a nuclear deterrent which we still maintain basically at the strength we needed to defeat a fully nuclear armed Soviet Union and the troops in Europe. I misspoke when i said pull the troops out of NATO – I want us to stay in NATO but let the wealthy Western European nations keep the troops in Western Europe. Let’s have a genuine cooperation, not a one-sided deal where America gives frankly all our wealthy allies a free ride.