A new conservative group, Americans for Strong Defense, has been formed to take on Chuck Hagel's defense secretary nomination by President Obama.
While most of the attention against the former Republican Nebraska senator has centered on his positions regarding Israel and (to a lesser degree) gays in the military, Hagel's stances on Cuba could get more attention. A prominent anti-Castro activist, Maurico Claver-Carone, sits on Americans for Strong Defense's board and recently his Capitol Hill Cubans blog featured an editorial bashing Hagel. Rep. Ileans Ros-Lehtinen has expressed concern with Hagel. Sen. Marco Rubio has as well.
Americans for a Strong Defense is running ads targeting senators in five states (Florida isn't one of them). The ads, however, don't mention Cuba and instead focus on the threats of Iran, North Korea and Russia.
Here's the press release:
Americans for a Strong Defense will make the case to voters and elected officials that Senator Hagel holds out-of-the-mainstream views that send a dangerous message to our adversaries and weaken our ability to defend ourselves. While ASD lauds Hagel’s service to our nation both in uniform and public office, his record on a range of foreign policy and defense issues is deeply troubling.
The former Nebraska Senator supports massive defense cuts and the elimination of our nation’s nuclear weapons, which would result in huge job losses, invite challenges from our rivals and weaken America. Furthermore, Hagel’s stances – his opposition to sanctions, his belief that America is too powerful and plays too prominent a role in the world, his view that America can convince rogue states to disarm only if we disarm first – send a dangerous signal to nations such as Iran and North Korea.
“Senator Hagel isn’t the right choice for the Pentagon. We can do better. His views on our national defense and key foreign policy issues are deeply troubling, and they send the wrong signal to America’s allies and adversaries,” said Brian Hook, board member for Americans for a Strong Defense (ASD).
Mauricio Claver-Carone, a board member for Americans for a Strong Defense (ASD) stated, “Senator Hagel’s views are clearly outside the mainstream and will only serve to embolden America’s foes throughout the world. Americans for a Strong Defense will work to ensure that Senators understand a vote for Hagel will weaken America’s strong stance against terrorists and tyrants.”
The ad (Louisiana version):