White House: Hagel will win Senate confirmation
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House today dismissed criticism of Chuck Hagel's hesitant congressional testimony and insisted that it expects the Senate to confirm him as defense secretary.
One day after Hagel was roughed up in a grueling confirmation hearing, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Hagel did a "fine job" and the Obama administration would be stunned if Republicans tried to block the nomination of a decorated Vietnam combat veteran and former two-term GOP senator.
"The president believes Sen. Hagel will make an excellent secretary of defense and that he will be confirmed and he looks forward to working with Sen. Hagel in that position as we continue to advance our national security priorities," Carney told reporters.
If confirmed, Hagel, 66, would be the lone Republican in President Barack Obama's Cabinet, the first Vietnam veteran to be defense secretary and the first enlisted man to take the post.