By Barbara Starr (CNN)- There's a campaign mounting against President Obama's choice to lead the Pentagon. "Thank you, Mr. President."
Even as President Obama nominated Chuck Hagel to run the Pentagon, opponents launched an unprecedented effort that sounds a lot like an election campaign.
"President Obama, for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel is not a responsible option."
The conservative advocacy group American Future Fund putting up big money.
"Hagel accepted gold plated trips from lobbyists and campaign cash from the interests he was supposed to be regulating." "We are running over half a million worth of ads nationwide to further communicate about Chuck Hagel."
Hagel aides say the Senator has always obeyed ethics rules. This tough Vietnam combat veteran and a small group of aides are part of the counter attack machine - making his case to more than 50 senators.
Starr: "Can we just ask you how it's going?"
"It's going well, thank you-- appreciate it."
"Due to security concerns, I can't show you the exact room, but here in this very nondescript Pentagon hallway, Chuck Hagel has an office where he's been getting ready for what may be contentious confirmation hearings, and it is from here that the strategy for confirmation has taken shape."
"We joke that this is the Hagel war room, and we are doing rapid response as issues come in and that's what you'd expect in this confirmation process."
Its all high stakes.
Obama senior aide Valerie Jarrett moved in quickly when gay rights groups opposed Hagel over his 1998 comments calling an ambassador nominee quote 'openly aggressively gay.'
"You know as a measure of our progress as a nation and specifically as a community of LGBT individuals within 24 hours, Senator Hagel had issued an apology."
On Hagel's support for Israel-- critics continue to say Hagel is soft.
So the Hagel war room got an endorsement New York democrat Senator Chuck Schumer a prominent pro-Israeli voice.
But Sheldon Adelson-- the republican mega donor -- and wife who gave tens of millions of dollars to a super pac supporting Mitt Romney, says not so fast. As a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition he's calling GOP senators to urge a no vote on Hagel.
His potential future campaign cash not easily forgotten.
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