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Chuck Hagel will be secretary of Defense. What did GOP opposition accomplish?

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File

(Read caption) Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month. A deeply divided Senate is moving toward a vote on President Obama’s contentious choice.

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The embattled Chuck Hagel will be America’s next secretary of Defense, after all.

Following weeks of bitter partisan fighting over Mr. Hagel’s nomination for the Pentagon post, he won Senate confirmation with surprising ease, passing a key Tuesday cloture vote by 71 to 27. Among those voting “yea” were Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona – two lawmakers who’d battered Hagel, a former GOP senator from Nebraska, over his past statements on Israel, Iran, Libya, and various other national security issues.

The final vote on Hagel's confirmation came Tuesday evening, with the Senate voting 58 to 41. Four Republicans backed Hagel, but Graham and McCain voted "no."

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