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Hagel has held dozens of meetings with senators to address their concerns and appeal for their support, staying on Capitol Hill from early morning well into the evening repeatedly in the weeks leading up to his confirmation hearing.
He was due to have 10 more meetings on Tuesday, cramming for his make-or-break appearance before the panel. Aides have said they expect he will have met with at least 50 of the 100 senators before Thursday morning.
Despite a grueling schedule, Hagel has shown glimpses of humor.
He accidentally wandered into the Senate press gallery last week while looking for a men’s room and gamely fielded a few questions - saying little - when he emerged.
And the Omaha World Herald newspaper reported that Hagel ran into Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts’ new senator, in the Capitol basement while hurrying between meetings one day last week.
“We were just talking about you,” Warren said.
To which Hagel replied, “Everybody’s been talking about me.”