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Associated Press
FILE - This Nov. 1, 2012 file photo shows former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel speaking in Omaha, Neb. He's a contrarian Republican moderate and a decorated Vietnam combat veteran. And he's likely to endorse a more rapid troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Hagel, President Barack Obama's top candidate for defense secretary, also has another credential that's arguably even more important to this president: Hagel and Obama have a personal relationship, forged in the Senate and strengthened during overseas trips they took together. Hagel, 66, emerged as the front-runner for the Pentagon chief last week, four years after retiring from a Senate career in which he carved out a reputation as an independent thinker and blunt speaker.  (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

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