Another GOP senator backs Hagel for defense post

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 03, 2013 03:48 hrs

A second Republican senator says he will back former Sen. Chuck Hagel as the next Pentagon chief.

Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska says he believes Hagel will be a strong supporter of Israel and other allies of the U.S. and will be firm with America's enemies.

Johanns tells the Omaha World-Herald that he decided to support Hagel after the former senator's confirmation hearing last Thursday and after meeting with Hagel.

Some Republican senators have said they will vote against confirming Hagel as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's replacement. Hagel has been criticized as not being tough enough on Iran or sufficiently supportive of Israel.

Johanns joins Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi in supporting Hagel's nomination. Senate Democrats hold the majority, and none has voiced opposition to Hagel's appointment.

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