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December 30, 2012

Obama defends potential Defense appointee Chuck Hagel

President Obama says he hasn't made a decision about who'll serve as Defense Secretary, but said he's not found anything to disqualify former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., a leading contender who has come under fire.

Obama in an interview on Meet the Press called Hagel "a patriot, he is somebody who has done extraordinary work in the U.S Senate. He is somebody who has served this country with valor in Vietnam."

Hagel has come under fire for his statements on Israel and gays. On Friday, Hagel issued an apology for remarks he made in 1998 about a gay ambassadorial nominee, saying they “do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record.”

Obama called the apology a "testimony" to changing views about gays and lesbians over the past decade.

But South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham said on Fox News Sunday that "there would be very little Republican support for his nomination. At the end of the day, they will be very few votes."


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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