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Senate 'old boy' network is misfiring on Hagel nomination (+video)

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“I think there are numbers of staffers who are coming forth now just talking about the way he has dealt with them,” said Corker, who added that he begins the process with “an open mind.”

Other GOP critics question Hagel’s overall world view, especially his vision of American power, willingness to accept defense cuts, and understanding of the US relationship with Israel.

“My question is: What is his view of America’s role in the world,” said Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “Does he really believe the surge [of 30,000 US forces into Iraq in 2007] is the worst blunder since Vietnam?”

The two men, both severely injured in the Vietnam War, were once close. Hagel was a co-chair of Senator McCain’s first presidential run in 2000, but did not back him in 2008. "I have always believed that a president deserves the right to choose his own team, but there are significant questions," McCain said.

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