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Hagel's Confirmation an Opportunity for the New Attack Ad: Promoted Tweets

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, January 31 2013

A curious promoted tweet released today invokes the Human Rights Campaign as it blasts Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel for his past positions on homosexuality — although the Human Rights Campaign didn't sponsor the tweet and Hagel is now seeking to present his positions as exactly opposite the ones the ad accuses him of taking.

Use Your Mandate, a purportedly bipartisan effort connected to former Michael Bloomberg aide Bradley Tusk, and using a Republican firm to purchase media, published this message earlier today:

The tweet links to a statement from the Human Rights Campaign, the gay rights group, advocating for military IDs for same-sex military spouses. HRC has also said in a statement that the next Secretary of Defense should move quickly on extending benefits to the same-sex spouses of American servicemen and women. President Barack Obama turned greater rights for gay couples into a campaign issue in 2012, and Don't Ask Don't Tell, the policy that prevented openly gay people from serving in the military, was repealed last year.

HRC has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Earlier in January and again today, Hagel expressed support for extending those benefits — which may include military IDs.

Hagel is vulnerable to attack for his positions on gays in the military because of past statements. Some 15 years ago, he criticized a nominee for U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, James Hormel, as “openly, aggressively gay.”

The former senator has apologized for those comments, and Human Rights Campaign, the gay rights group invoked in the tweet, released a statement in December effectively accepting Hagel's apology. HRC's statement proclaimed the group was "proud that Senator Hagel" had joined its ranks of "allies."

"It is entirely understandable that an individual could have said really ignorant things back 15 years ago," HRC's vice president of communications, Fred Sainz, told Roll Call earlier this month, "and understand how those statements would be inappropriate in today’s context."

But the former Republican Senator's apparent change of heart has not been expressed fervently enough for the Log Cabin Republicans, an LGBT conservative group, or for some Democrats, who are watching the confirmation hearings closely.

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