Hagel GOP foes signal vote should go on

Associated Press
FILE – In this Feb. 12, 2013, file photo Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., waits to make a statement in opposition to President  Barack Obama's choice of former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel to run the Pentagon as a bitterly divided Senate Senate Armed Services Committee considers the nomination on Capitol Hill in Washington. On a talk show Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, Graham said critics were "doing our job to scrutinize ... one of the most unqualified, radical choices for secretary of defense in a very long time." (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Republican opponents are sending signals that former Sen. Chuck Hagel's bid to become defense secretary will probably come to an up-or-down vote soon in the Senate. That's unless more information damaging to the nominee — and the White House — surfaces.

Critics maintain the decorated Vietnam combat veteran is unqualified to lead the U.S. military. A top White House official expressed "grave concern" over the delayed confirmation vote, adding that there's nothing to worry about in any disclosures that may yet come.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, a key Republican on defense matters, said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he doesn't believe Hagel is qualified. But he also doesn't believe Republicans should hold up his nomination further.

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