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Divided Senate confirms Hagel as defense secretary

Chuck Hagel, a former senator, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 31. He was confirmed Tuesday as secretary of defense.
Chuck Hagel, a former senator, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 31. He was confirmed Tuesday as secretary of defense.
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WASHINGTON — A deeply divided Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Republican Chuck Hagel to be the nation’s next defense secretary, handing President Barack Obama’s pick the top Pentagon job just days before billions of dollars in automatic, across-the-board budget cuts hit the military. The vote was 58-41, with four Republicans joining the Democrats in backing the contentious choice. Hagel’s only GOP support came from former colleagues Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Dick Shelby of Alabama and ...

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