The Comment That Just Won’t Go Away

1:40 — Hagel’s now-infamous line about the “Jewish lobby” is continuing to cause him grief. Senator after senator has bashed him for using those two words, and Hagel has repeatedly tried to defuse the criticism by acknowledging that he misspoke and shouldn’t have used the phrase. Lindsey Graham, one of the best questioners on the panel, just used a different part of the quote to bash Hagel. Hagel’s full comment in 2006 was that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here… I have always argued against some of the dumb things they do because I don’t think it’s in the interest of Israel.” Graham asked Hagel to name a senator who had been intimidated by the pro-Israel lobby or a “dumb thing” that the Senate had done as a result. Hagel admitted that he couldn’t. Hagel had obviously been heavily coached about how to talk about the “Jewish lobby” part of the quote. He was clearly unprepared to fight off criticism about the rest of the comment.