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After his rough Senate hearing, Chuck Hagel gets a boost from backers

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"It's pretty obvious that the political knives were out for Chuck Hagel," Panetta said on NBC’s "Meet the Press."

"What disappointed me is that ... they talked a lot about past quotes, but what about what a secretary of defense is confronting today?" he asked. "What about the war ... in Afghanistan? What about the war on terrorism? What about the budget sequestering [automatic budget cuts] – what impact it's going to have on readiness? What about Middle East turmoil? What about cyber-attacks?"

"All of the issues that confront a secretary of defense, frankly … we just did not see enough time spent on discussing those issues," Panetta said.

THE MONITOR'S VIEW: With Hagel at Defense, what would be America's 'special role'?

Still, former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said on “Meet the Press,” “The disconcerting thing for anybody that watched [Hagel’s confirmation hearing] is he seemed unimpressive and unprepared on the questions that quite frankly he knew was coming.”

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