Political Leaders Express Concern Over Hagel

(NECN/NBC News: Tracie Potts, Washington) - President Obama meets with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta today, but it's the man he wants to replace Panetta who could stir up things on Capitol Hill.

Democrats and Republicans here have concerns about Hagel, and the ACLU and others are already speaking out, and demonstrating against John Brennan's nomination to head the CIA.

Protests took place outside the White House, questioning whether John Brennan spoke out loudly enough against controversial interrogation tactics.

That's why Brennan dropped out last time he was considered to head the CIA. This time he's courting both sides.

"Although I consider myself neither a Republican nor a Democrat, I very much look forward to working closely with those on both sides of the aisle," said CIA Director Nominee John Brennan.

But Brennan's confirmation may not be as tough as Chuck Hagel's for Secretary of Defense.

"Mr. President, I will always give you my honest and most informed counsel," said Defense Secretary Nominee Chuck Hagel.

Hagel has backed some cuts at the Pentagon - an issue Congress will deal with next month.

"As a successful businessman, he also knows that, even as we make tough fiscal choices, we have to do so wisely," said President Barack Obama.

Republicans and democrats are concerned Hagel is soft on Iran, and too tough on our ally israel.

"He has had a record of distinguished service, but he is profoundly wrong on a number of the most important national security issues that face our country today," said Senator John Cornyn, (R) Texas.

Hagel insists his views have been "completely distorted."

He's also under fire for criticizing a Clinton nominee "openly, aggressively gay."

"It's dangerous to roll the dice on this issue," said Gregory Angelo of the Log Cabin Republicans.

All questions lawmakers are eager to ask, when confirmation hearings get underway.

But former Secretary of State Colin Powell is endorsing Hagel, calling him an independent and bold leader who thinks outside the box.

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