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Hagel likely to be confirmed for SecDef

Feb. 24, 2013 - 01:17PM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 24, 2013 - 01:17PM  |  
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Barring an unforeseen development, Chuck Hagel will be confirmed as Defense secretary this week.

So says one of his biggest critics, Republican Sen. John McCain.

"I think it will happen, barring some additional revelation concerning his comments about Israel and all those other unfortunate things he said in the past," the Arizona Republican told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

McCain and other Republicans voted earlier this month to delay a final Senate vote on Hagel, seeking additional information from the administration on the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Libya. But McCain and a sufficient number of Republicans also said they would back a final vote when the Senate returns to work this week.

Given his support from the Senate Democratic majority — 55 votes out of 100 — Hagel is a virtual lock for confirmation. Only the prospect of a filibuster — which would required 60 votes to break — could stop Hagel, and McCain said he would not support such a move.

President Obama and Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, deserve "an up-or-down vote," McCain said.

He also said: "I do believe that elections have consequences, unfortunately, and the president of the United States was re-elected."

On "Fox News Sunday," Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Hagel deserves the job, despite a less-than-stellar performance at his confirmation hearings.

"He's qualified (and) I think it's despicable the way his character has been impugned by other people," McCaskill said. "I think it's time for us to come together and unite behind him so he can do the best job possible."

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