Matt Williams in New York
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 13 January 2013 19.11 GMT
Former secretary of state Colin Powell has given fulsome support to President Barack Obama's pick to lead the Defense Department, saying Chuck Hagel is "superbly qualified" for the post despite objection from some fellow Republicans.
Speaking on NBC's Meet the Press, Powell said the former Nebraska senator had a "very, very distinguished public service record he can stand on".
The comments contrast with that of some Republicans who have objected to the proposed nomination due to a perception that Hagel is lukewarm on Israel, the US's traditional Middle East ally.
Such antipathy to Obama's choice was evident in comments Sunday by senator Bob Corker, a ranking member of the foreign relations committee.
2. Amazing that a high-ranking Republican official from the previous Republican administration
would defend a Democratic president's pick of a Republican for SECDEF. Amazing. Surely a future Republican president will pick a Democrat for SECDEF before the end of the next Mayan long calendar, and if not by then, by the 12th of never.