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In an exclusive NBC interview Sunday morning, President Obama defended former Nebraska Senator and secretary of defense candidate Chuck Hagel after criticism of a comment Hagel made 14 years ago.
Washington experts consider Hagel one of the leading candidates to replace Leon Panetta as defense secretary.
But yesterday, the president, who briefly served with Hagel in the Senate, stressed that he has yet to make a decision.
However, with his name in the forefront, Hagel has come under criticism for comments he made in 1998 about an openly gay nominee for an ambassadorship.
During Sunday's interview, President Obama pointed out that Hagel apologized for his now 14-year-old remark about gays.
The president also referred to Hagel as a "patriot" and said the former Senator is doing an outstanding job in his service on the intelligence advisory board.
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