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Barack Obama and Democrats Plead for Action on Chuck Hagel

President Barack Obama stands behind his nominee for defense secretary, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, and Senate delays in Hagel’s confirmation are “unconscionable,” a White House spokesman said on Thursday.

Delays in Hagel’s nomination do not send a good signal to U.S. allies or troops, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

“The president stands strongly behind Senator Hagel,” Earnest said. “It does not send a favorable signal for Republicans in the United States Senate to delay a vote on the president’s nominee, a nominee who is a member of their own party, to be the Secretary of Defense.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made an impassioned appeal on Thursday for confirmation of Chuck Hagel as President Barack Obama’s new secretary of defense, as Republicans said he might not get the 60 votes needed to overcome roadblocks preventing a vote on his confirmation.

A senior Republican aide said it was not clear if enough Republicans would cross the aisle to help provide the 60 votes. Democrats, who have remained united in support of Hagel, a former Republican senator, control 55 seats in the 100-member Senate.

The aide said a number of members want more information about Hagel, their former colleague. But the aide said that eventually, barring an unexpected surprise, the feeling is that he will be confirmed.

DELAY IN HAGEL VOTE DOES NOT SEND A FAVORABLE SIGNAL TO ALLIES OR U.S. TROOPS; DELAY TACTICS ARE “UNCONSCIONABLE” – WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN

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