Barney Frank dials back opposition to Chuck Hagel nomination
Former representative Barney Frank is dialing back his opposition to the pending nomination of former senator Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, saying he is willing to look past the Nebraska Republican’s comments about gays because it is more important that his views prevail on drawing down the war in Afghanistan and reducing wasteful defense spending. “I was hoping the president wouldn’t nominate him,” Frank told the Globe today. “As much as I regret what Hagel said, and resent what he said, the question now is going to be Afghanistan and scaling back the military,” Frank said. “In terms of the policy stuff, if he would be rejected [by the Senate], it would be a setback for those things.” Although he retired from the House last week after 32 years, Frank remains a prominent gay rights spokesman and has also publicly asked Governor Deval Patrick to appoint him as the interim successor should Senator John F. Kerry resign to become secretary of state. Depending on scheduling, that could happen after any confirmation vote on Hagel, or perhaps be one of the new senator’s first votes.