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'Staunch Republican' who criticized Iraq war

By Reuters in Washington | China Daily | Updated: 2013-01-08 07:57

From his lonely position as an early Republican critic of the Iraq war, former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel sometimes lectured his more timid US Senate colleagues. "If you wanted a safe job, go sell shoes," he told them.

Now President Barack Obama, putting together his team for his second term, is poised to choose the intensely independent thinker to run the Pentagon. If Hagel is confirmed by the Senate, he will oversee the withdrawal of US troops from another war zone, Afghanistan, and grapple with spending cuts.

A social conservative and strong internationalist who co-chaired John McCain's failed Republican presidential campaign back in 2000, Hagel might seem an unlikely pick for Obama's Secretary of Defense, were it not for his opposition to the Iraq war launched by former president George W. Bush. That war was the issue on which Obama also rose to national prominence.

'Staunch Republican' who criticized Iraq war

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