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Two senators say Hagel would face tough confirmation

WASHINGTON

Senators see tough road for Hagel

Two senators predicted Sunday that former Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican from Nebraska, would face a difficult confirmation if nominated by President Barack Obama to be defense secretary.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who's retiring, cited Hagel's less-than-hawkish positions on Iran. Lieberman told CNN's State of the Union that it would be "a very tough confirmation process," and "there are reasonable questions to ask and that Chuck Hagel will have to answer."

On NBC's Meet the Press, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said, "I don't think he's going to get many Republican votes."

Hagel, 66, is considered the leading candidate to replace Leon Panetta at the Pentagon. Critics' concerns largely center on Hagel's past comments about Israel and Iran. Outside groups have suggested that based on his remarks, he isn't sufficiently supportive of Israel, an important Mideast ally.

HONOLULU

Inouye is remembered for service to country

The late Sen. Daniel Inouye was remembered Sunday as an American hero whose legacy as a war veteran and longtime senator would be felt across Hawaii for years to come.

The memorial service at Honolulu's National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific was attended by about 1,000 people, including President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Hawaii's congressional delegation and a number of other senators, Cabinet secretaries and other dignitaries, Democrats and Republicans.

Obama, who is vacationing with his family on the island of Oahu for Christmas, did not speak at the ceremony.

Inouye, D-Hawaii, died last Monday at 88 after serving in the Senate for five decades.

WASHINGTON

Idaho senator charged with DUI in Virginia

Sen. Michael Crapo, R-Idaho, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in suburban Washington, authorities said Sunday.

Police in Alexandria, Va., said Crapo was pulled over early Sunday morning after his vehicle ran a red light. Police spokesman Jody Donaldson said Crapo failed field sobriety tests and was arrested about 12:45 a.m. He was transported to the Alexandria jail and released on an unsecured $1,000 bond about four hours later.

Donaldson said he didn't immediately know what Crapo's blood alcohol level was. Crapo, 61, has a Jan. 4 court date.

The senator issued a statement late Sunday saying he was "deeply sorry" for his actions and would deal with whatever penalty comes his way.

Italy

Monti says he won't run but might serve

Italy's caretaker prime minister, Mario Monti, who steered his nation through tough economic times over the past 13 months, said Sunday that he would not run in forthcoming elections but would consider any request to head a future government.

Monti, who resigned from his post late last week but will stay on as caretaker prime minister until the February election, spoke at a two-hour news conference. Most of the questions for the economics professor and former European Union business commissioner focused on his future plans.

Elsewhere

HOUSTON: Former President George H.W. Bush, who has been in a Houston hospital with a lingering cough since November, needs to "build up his energy" before he can be released, doctors said Sunday.

SOUTH AFRICA: Former South African President Nelson Mandela will probably spend Christmas Day in a hospital because his doctors want to be satisfied his health has improved satisfactorily before sending him home, the news website IOL reported Sunday.

MALI: Islamist extremists destroyed four mausoleums in Timbuktu on Sunday, according to the director of Timbuktu's tourism office, Sane Chirfi. Since taking control of Timbuktu this year, they have destroyed a number of mausoleums.

China: Family members have called for the release from prison of Gong Shengliang, a charismatic Christian preacher whose church is banned as a cult in China. He apparently suffered a stroke that left him unable to walk and speak normally.

Times wires

Two senators say Hagel would face tough confirmation 12/23/12 [Last modified: Sunday, December 23, 2012 11:02pm]

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