A Second Republican Voices Support For Hagel To Lead Pentagon
WASHINGTON | Sat Feb 2, 2013 4:57pm EST
(Reuters) - Senator Mike Johanns said on Saturday he would support fellow Nebraskan Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, becoming the second Republican in the Senate to express public support for President Barack Obama's embattled nominee.
The Lincoln, Nebraska, JournalStar reported on its website that Johanns, a former Nebraska governor who holds Hagel's old Senate seat, issued a statement supporting Hagel. An aide to Johanns confirmed the report.
Johanns' backing increases the likelihood of Hagel's confirmation, despite bitter opposition by some Republicans and the former senator's cautious performance during a contentious confirmation hearing on Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Critics said Hagel performed poorly at times during his hearing, speaking hesitantly, seeming tired and often unprepared for some of the sharpest queries about his past controversial statements on Israel, Iran and U.S. nuclear strategy.