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May 29, 2015

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Hagel delay gives opposition time to hone attack

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J. Scott Applewhite

Republican Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s choice for defense secretary, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013.

WASHINGTON — The weeklong Senate recess gives more time for opponents of Chuck Hagel to sharpen attacks against the defense secretary nominee.

They're promising to redouble their efforts to scour Hagel's record and pressure senators to vote against him.

While Senate Republicans succeeded in delaying his confirmation this week, they signaled they would eventually relent and allow an up-or-down vote after returning from recess. But that leaves an uncomfortable gap for Hagel and the White House, which doesn't want any surprises to further delay or possibly derail Hagel's confirmation.

Americans for a Strong Defense, for example, is stepping up a grass-roots campaign to flood Senate offices with calls from constituents who want Hagel's nomination rejected.

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