Washington • The Senate confirmed Chuck Hagel to lead the Defense Department over the objection of most Republicans including Utah’s two senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee.
Hatch did support a move earlier Tuesday to allow Hagel’s nomination to come to a final up-or-down vote because he generally dislikes using procedural hurdles to block nominees. He voted "present" on a similar unsuccessful vote a week ago.
Still, Hatch said he couldn’t support Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, who was confirmed on a vote of 58 to 41.
"I don’t think he handled himself well. He was on the Intelligence Committee with me and that’s all I’m going to say about it. There were some things that really bothered me there," Hatch said just moments after the vote.
Lee had previously asked President Barack Obama to withdraw Hagel’s nomination, arguing that his performance at his confirmation hearing was lackluster and his past positions on Iran were "disconcerting."
Only four Republicans supported Hagel nomination.
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