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Key Republicans say Chuck Hagel now likely to be confirmed

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Now, Sen. McCain is ready to drop such confirmation roadblocks.

“I don't believe he's qualified, but I don't believe we should hold up his confirmation any further," McCain said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I think it's a reasonable amount of time to have questions answered."

"I'm confident that Senator Hagel will probably have the votes necessary to be confirmed as secretary of defense," McCain said.

On Fox News Sunday, Graham said he’s satisfied with Hagel’s disavowing any comment about Israel and the State Department, which critics say Hagel made in 2007.

“I got a letter back from Sen. Hagel in response to my question, did you say that, and do you believe that? And the letter said he did not recall saying that. He disavows that statement,” Graham said. “If in fact that’s true, that would end the matter. I just take him at his word unless something new comes along.”

Still, Graham considers Hagel to be "one of the most unqualified, radical choices for secretary of defense in a very long time.”

"But at the end of the day," he said, "this is the president's decision. I give him great discretion."

It fell to White House chief of staff Denis McDonough to defend Hagel on the TV talk shows, where he made three appearances Sunday.

“If you look at Chuck Hagel, decorated war veteran himself, war hero. Republican senator. Somebody who over the course of the last many years, either as a Republican senator or as the chairman of the president’s Intelligence Advisory Board, I’ve worked with very closely. This guy has one thing in mind, how do we protect the country,” Mr. McDonough said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”

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