Murphy praises Hagel, but balks at how he'll vote

Jan 7, 2013

Senator Chuck Hagel speaks as he introduces Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey shortly before they deliver remarks as the keynote speakers at the Forum on the Law of the Sea Convention held at the Willard Intercontinental Washington Hotel, Washington D.C, May 9, 2012.
Credit DoD Photo By Glenn Fawcett

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy has taken a pass on committing to whether he'll vote to confirm President Barack Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel as Pentagon chief while offering strong praise for the ex-senator.

Murphy said Monday morning that Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, is a very strong pick. He cited Hagel's service in Vietnam and foreign policy experience.

However, he said he will take his time researching Hagel's record and examine his positions.

Murphy was interviewed on CNN.

Hagel is facing strong criticism from congressional Republicans who say he's anti-Israel and soft on Iran.

Murphy, a former congressman who was sworn in as senator last Thursday, said Republicans are looking to pick a fight with Obama.

The president is expected to announce his nomination of Hagel on Monday.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.