Rand Paul Explains His Surprise Vote For Chuck Hagel

“The president gets to choose political appointees,” Paul says.

Gary Cameron / Reuters

WASHINGTON — Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said his support for a filibuster against Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel never meant that he would vote against Hagel’s confirmation.

“I voted no because I wanted more information and I think that part of what the Senate does is try to get information about the nominees,” Paul told reporters in the basement of the Capitol after Hagel’s confirmation Tuesday. “I’ve said all along that I give the president some prerogative in choosing his political appointees.”

“There are many things I disagree with Chuck Hagel on, there are many things I disagree with John Kerry on, there are very few things I agree with the president on, but the president gets to choose political appointees,” Paul said.

Asked if he ever got the information he wanted about Hagel, Paul said that he hadn’t.

Paul implied that he might vote yes on final passage at Monday’s New York Meeting.

After weeks of controversy, Hagel was confirmed by a vote of 58-41 on Tuesday.

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