Pentagon nominee Hagel reaches out to senators

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 15, 2013 08:15 hrs

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama's choice to be defense secretary, is reaching out to all 100 senators and will be meeting personally with dozens of them starting this week.

That comes from an official working on his confirmation, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The sessions will be vital for a nomination that faces outright opposition from a handful of Republicans, nervous questions from influential Democrats and plenty of non-committal senators.

Hagel's confirmation hearing before the Armed Services Committee will probably occur within weeks. Hagel has gotten backing from some key supporters, but he has been dogged by questions of whether he's soft on Iran, weak in his backing for Israel and opposed to gay rights.

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