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January 31, 2013

Inhofe renews criticism of Hagel

(Continued)

WASHINGTON D.C. —

“It would be a positive message for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in harm’s way around the world to know that one of their own holds the highest office in the Department of Defense and that he has their backs,” Levin said.
Two former committee chairmen — Democrat Sam Nunn and Republican John Warner — introduced the nominee.
“War for Chuck Hagel is not an abstraction,” Nunn said.
Hagel has the announced backing of about a dozen Democrats and the tacit support of dozens more who are unlikely to embarrass the president by defeating his Cabinet pick. One Republican — Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi — has said he will vote for his former colleague. Seven Republicans, including four members of the Armed Services panel, have said they will oppose Hagel’s nomination. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., announced his opposition on Thursday, saying Hagel’s views “are too apart from what I believe to be the way forward for preserving America’s proper role in the world.”
Democrats hold a 55-45 advantage in the Senate. In a later exchange with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Hagel sought to explain that his wartime experience in which he was wounded twice informed his decisions and votes.
“It does condition you,” he said. “I’m not shaped, framed, molded, consumed by that experience. Of course not. But it’s part of me.”
Hagel would be the lone Republican in the Obama Cabinet if the Senate confirms him, but the prospect has failed to placate GOP senators in a post-election atmosphere that remains as politically divisive as the fierce 2012 campaign.
Once the hearing was under way, the Republican National Committee put out a news release titled, “Chuck Hagel is the Wrong Choice for Secretary of Defense,” and contending that he would weaken the nation’s military.

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