Hagel squeaks through committee vote

Chuck Hagel
Photo credit Christian Science Monitor

The Senate Armed Services Committee narrowly endorsed former Sen. Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense late Tuesday. All 14 Democrats on the committee voted to approve; all 11 Republican voted no. What makes the vote especially unusual is the fact that Hagel is himself a Republican.

His supporters lauded his service in Vietnam, according to Fox News:

But critics pointed to Hagel’s history of controversial votes and statements regarding Iran, Israel, terror groups, the Iraq war and other issues.

Further, they panned what was widely regarded as a rocky performance by Hagel during his recent confirmation hearing. It is rare for the Senate to be this divided on a Cabinet nomination of this magnitude.

“His performance before this committee was the worst that I have seen for any nominee for office,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said, according to Fox News.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., another senator opposing Hagel, said, “There are very few people who have been this wrong about so many things.”

A vote for confirmation before the full Senate will probably come before the end of the week, most likely Thursday, Fox News said.

Read more at Fox News.

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