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Little enthusiasm among GOP for Hagel, but he has Obama's support

President Barack Obama said he saw nothing that would disqualify former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel from being nominated for US defense secretary. However, some Republicans have expressed doubts about Hagel's positions on Iran and Israel.

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Former US Republican Senator Chuck Hagel (c.) chats with Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel (r.) as she arrives to a ceremony at the Library of Congress in Washington, in 2009. President Barack Obama is expected to announce his nominees for secretaries of state and defense in the next two weeks, with former Republican senator Hagel on the short list of potential choices to head the Pentagon.

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/File

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President Barack Obama offered strong support for former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as the potential next U.S. defense secretary but said in remarks aired on Sunday that he had not yet decided on a nominee for the Pentagon post.

Hagel is considered a leading candidate to replace outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, but the former Nebraska lawmaker has come under criticism for his record on Israel and for a comment that being gay was an inhibiting factor for being an ambassador.

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