Yahoo News: Add Bob Dole—former senator, former presidential candidate, grievously wounded in World War II—to the list of Republican heavy-hitters urging the Senate to confirm the embattled Chuck Hagel as defense secretary.
“Hagel’s wisdom and courage make him uniquely qualified to be Secretary of Defense and lead the men and women of our armed forces,” Dole said in a statement released by the White House. “Chuck Hagel will be an exceptional leader at an important time.”
Hagel, a decorated Vietnam War veteran and Republican former senator from Nebraska, already had the support of five former secretaries of defense from Republican and Democratic administrations—Bob Gates, Bill Cohen, William Perry, Harold Brown and Melvin Laird. He also enjoyed the support of former Senate Armed Services Committee chairmen Sam Nunn (D-Georgia) and John Warner (R- Virginia).
While it’s not clear what pull Dole retains with his former colleagues, Democrats already appear to have lined up the 60 votes needed to break through another Republican filibuster and definitely have the 51 needed to confirm Hagel as Leon Panetta’s successor. Republican Sen. Richard Shelby announced earlier Thursday that he would support Hagel.