EAGAN, Minn. - 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.
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