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Sen. Franken Calls Hagel ‘War Hero’

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(credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

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EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is praising President Barack Obama’s pick of former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary.

Franken calls Hagel, a decorated Vietnam combat veteran, “a war hero.” And Franken is promising to listen to his testimony.

Some Democrats have criticized Hagel for saying in 1998 that a nominee for an ambassador post was “openly, aggressively gay.” Franken, a Democrat, says Hagel has apologized for those comments, and he doesn’t think that’s a reason to deny him the post.

Franken also says he’s interested in hearing Hagel’s comments on Iran’s nuclear program.

In a statement, Minnesota’s other senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, says Hagel “has a long record of service to his country,” and she looks forward to considering his confirmation.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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