Tired of the fiscal cliff fight? Want to hear lawmakers argue about something else?
President Barack Obama nominated former senator Charles "Chuck" Hagel to be his new defense secretary - so let the bickering begin.
Chosen to replace the departing Leon Panetta, Hagel served as a senator from Nebraska from 1997 to 2009, and is a veteran of the Vietnam War. Though Hagel is a Republican, the GOP wasted no time in attacking one of their own.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., condemned what he called Hagel's "inflammatory statements about Israel" and said he was "the wrong man for the job at such a pivotal time."
Hagel is certainly facing a fight. But some lawmakers went beyond matters of opinion in their criticism and began to stretch facts surrounding Hagel's record.
"I am deeply disappointed in President Obama’s nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska as our nation’s next Secretary of Defense," wrote Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Why doesn't she like Hagel?
"He opposed sanctions against Iran, which has brazenly pursued the development of a nuclear weapon in open defiance of the international community as well as called for the destruction of one of our vital allies, Israel," the congresswoman said. "His outspoken criticism of our ally, the democratic state of Israel, will not further the fragile peace process in the region and may embolden Israel’s enemies into believing that the U.S. will not stand with Israel."
But Hagel has been hard on Iran, consistently supporting multi-national sanctions from the U.N. His disagreements over Iran have often been pragmatic, condemning certain actions or bills that he thought might allow the U.S. to unilaterally invade the nation.
"America’s military might alone cannot successfully address these challenges or achieve any level of sustainable stability with Iran. The United States must employ a comprehensive strategy that uses all of its tools of influence within its foreign policy arsenal– political, diplomatic, economic, cultural, and military," he wrote in a 2007 opinion piece.
And Hagel has gotten the support of at least one member of the Israeli government. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said he knew Hagel personally and thought of him as "decent and fair interlocutor who believes in the natural partnership between Israel and the United States."
Whether or not Hagel has been too soft on Iran will come up in discussion on the confirmation hearings. But it's inaccurate to say that he is against cracking down on that nation and it's nuclear program. That's why Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen wins the Whopper of the Week, a distinction awarded by the Washington Guardian to examples of political misstatements, falsehood or stretching of the truth.