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Senate 'old boy' network is misfiring on Hagel nomination (+video)

While senators typically support their own in confirmation hearings,  that is not the case for former Senator Hagel, whose nomination to be secretary of defense is under heavy fire.

By Staff writer / January 13, 2013

President Barack Obama listens in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 7, where he announced that he is nominating former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, (r.), as the new defense secretary.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

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WASHINGTON

Conventional wisdom has it that Senate confirmation hearings go smoothly when the Senate is confirming one of its own. That may well prove to be the case for Sen. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts, who is expected to windsurf through his confirmation hearing to replace (former Sen.) Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) of New York as secretary of state.

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But former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) of Nebraska, a storied maverick, is already facing headwinds from senators on both sides of the aisle in in his confirmation to be Secretary of Defense.

On Sunday, Sen. Bob Corker (R) of Tennessee, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, raised concerns about Mr. Hagel’s “overall temperament.”

“Is he suited to run a department or a big agency or a big entity like the Pentagon,” Senator Corker asked on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”

“I think there are numbers of staffers who are coming forth now just talking about the way he has dealt with them,” said Corker, who added that he begins the process with “an open mind.”

Other GOP critics question Hagel’s overall world view, especially his vision of American power, willingness to accept defense cuts, and understanding of the US relationship with Israel.

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