Obama should head 'back to the drawing board' on Hagel, says McKeon

The White House may be well served "to go back to the drawing board" on its nomination of former Sen. Chuck HagelChuck HagelThe 13-year wait for 2 widows and a congressman comes to an end Petraeus doubts Syria can be put back together again Obama’s unsettled legacy on Iraq and Afghanistan MORE (R-Neb.) for secretary of Defense and offer up another, more politically viable candidate for the position, committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) told reporters. 

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"This is a Republican who is not doing well with [other] Republicans," the California Republican said during a breakfast in Washington. 

Fellow Senate Republicans John McCainJohn McCainRepublicans who vow to never back Trump Russia’s nuclear strategy: It’s a trap! Clinton face-swaps Trump on Snapchat MORE (Ariz.), James InhofeJames InhofeThree more Republican senators to meet with Supreme Court nominee Senate unveils B waterways bill with aid for Flint 0 million Flint aid package included in water bill MORE (Okla.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGraham: Iran ‘giving Obama the diplomatic finger’ The Hill's 12:30 Report GOP warms to Trump MORE (S.C.) battered Hagel during the nominee's confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee in January. 

Aside from McKeon, Graham is the only other lawmaker to call upon the White House to withdraw Hagel's nomination. 

A shift away from Hagel would go a long way toward alleviating the political tensions surrounding Defense secretary position and open the door to a number of other candidates with the experience and expertise to run the department, McKeon added. 

Former DOD policy chief Michele Flournoy, according to McKeon, would be a prime example of a qualified nominee who would not draw the scathing, partisan rhetoric that has been aimed at Hagel. 

Flournoy, along with current Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter, were rumored to be on the Obama administration's shortlist for the top job at DOD. 

The furor over the Hagel nomination may have prompted another high-profile defense nominee to reconsider his bid to remain part of President Obama's national security team, according to McKeon. 

Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, the former top U.S. officer in Afghanistan and White House pick to head European Command, is reportedly eyeing retirement rather than endure a contentious confirmation hearing before the Senate.

Allen's wariness to go before the Senate defense panel is reportedly rooted in the fact he may be forced to discuss his involvement in the sex scandal that forced former CIA Director David Petraeus from the agency last year. 

A subsequent DOD investigation into Allen's ties to the scandal exonerated the four-star general.

McKeon would not comment as to whether Allen would drop his nomination to European Command, but noted the controversy surrounding Hagel's bid may influence the general's decision. 

"Who knows," he said regarding the Allen nomination, "[But] look at Hagel and what can happen in the confirmation process." 

McKeon's comments come a day after Senate Republicans successfully stonewalled a confirmation vote on Hagel, defeating an effort by Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSatanists balk at Cruz comparison Cory Booker is Clinton secret weapon Overnight Energy: Dems block energy spending bill for second day MORE (D-Nev.) to end debate on the nomination and hold a simple majority vote on the former senator's bid for Defense secretary. 

By a vote of 58-40, senate Democrats failed to approve cloture on the Hagel nomination by two votes with four Republicans opting to support confirmation -- Sens. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsGOP women push Trump on VP pick Sanders is most popular senator, according to constituent poll Senate Dem takes on drugmaker: ‘It’s time to slaughter some hogs’ MORE (Maine), Thad CochranThad CochranFirst US Zika death reported in Puerto Rico Overnight Healthcare: Medicare fight looms on Capitol Hill Senate GOP hardening stance against emergency funding for Zika MORE (Miss.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiThe Hill's 12:30 Report Bishop eyes new Puerto Rico bill after recess Week ahead: Senate looks to wrap up energy, water spending bill MORE (Alaska) and Mike JohannsMike JohannsTo buy a Swiss company, ChemChina must pass through Washington Republican senator vows to block nominees over ObamaCare co-ops Revisiting insurance regulatory reform in a post-crisis world MORE (Neb.). 

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchIRS: Annual unpaid tax liability was 8B Hatch asks Treasury for memo that decreases transparency of tax rules Senators roll out changes to criminal justice bill MORE (R-Utah) voted present and Sen. David VitterDavid VitterSenators aim to bolster active shooter training 5 takeaways from Mike Lee’s leadership bid Republicans demand shift in Obama’s ISIS strategy MORE (R-La.) missed the vote.

After the defeat, Reid said he would bring the issue back up for a vote after next week's congressional recess. Republicans are expected to agree to cloture on the Hagel nomination and confirm him as the new DOD chief.