Senate confirms Hagel as secretary of Defense

Republican Chuck Hagel, President Obama's choice for defense secretary, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate voted to confirm Chuck Hagel on Tuesday as President Barack Obama’s new secretary of defense.

Senators backed the nomination by a 57-41 vote, as voting continued, with only about four Republicans joining Democrats in support of Hagel, a Republican former U.S. senator from Nebraska.

Hagel needed only 51 votes to be confirmed as the new civilian leader at the Pentagon.

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