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NATO meeting: Chuck Hagel misses his debutant ball

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But Mr. Hagel’s Senate confirmation is stuck in limbo with Congress on recess this week. The troubled nomination suffered a new setback Thursday when a group of 15 Republican senators called on Mr. Obama to withdraw Hagel’s nomination.

The senators – among whom is Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee – justified their demand by saying it would be “unprecedented for a Secretary of Defense to take office without the broad base of bipartisan support and confidence needed to serve effectively in this critical position.”

That reasoning appeared to turn on its head the argument of Hagel’s Democratic supporters – that it is “unprecedented” for senators to hold up a vote on a president’s Defense secretary nominee along party lines.

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