Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee widely praised Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) on Thursday as an able diplomat and an exemplary nominee to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.
The prospects for another of President Obama's nominees, former Sen. Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, are not likely to be so bright. Hagel has drawn much criticism for past comments on Israel and gay rights from the right and the left, respectively. In his questioning of Kerry, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) signaled how contentious the his hearing will likely be.
Corker asked Kerry whether Hagel's past involvement with Global Zero, an international group promoting the elimination of nuclear weapons, would be appropriate at the Defense Department.
"I think he is a strong patriotic former senator, and he will be a strong secretary of defense," Kerry responded. "And I think some of the things that have been -- some of the efforts to color Senator Hagel's approach on some of these things don't do justice."
"I don't think Hagel's going to sit there and going to go over to the Defense Department and a proponent [of Global Zero]," Kerry added.