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U.S. defense chiefs back Hagel nomination

Published By United Press International
WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. defense leaders took to the airways to defend former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., President Barack Obama's choice to be the next secretary of defense.

Hagel faced a grueling confirmation hearing last week, sparring with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., over the Iraq war policy of former U.S. President George W. Bush.

Retiring Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told NBC he was frustrated with last week's confirmation hearing. Panetta said Senate leaders ignored questions ranging from looming budget cuts to evolving terrorist threats in the Middle East.

"We just did not see enough time discussing those issues, and in the end, that's what counts," he said.

U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN Candy Crowley that he's "always concerned" when Afghanistan isn't a dominant talking point.

Hagel received overwhelming support from former U.S. secretaries of defense and national security advisers before last week's hearing. Despite a tough nomination hearing, he's expected to be confirmed as secretary of defense.
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Tour de France concludes in Paris
Race winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain (C) stands between second place finisher Christopher Froome of Great Britain (L) and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali of Italy on the presentation podium following the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 22, 2012. Wiggins of Great Britain became that country's first ever overall winner of the Tour de France. UPI/David Silpa