Maine Sen. Angus King sees no strong reason to oppose President Barack Obama's pick for Secretary of Defense.
The newly elected senator, an independent, told The Associated Press on Thursday that he won't make a final decision on former Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination until confirmation hearings are finished. But King says there is not, in his words, "a strong disqualifying element or quality to the nominee."
King serves as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is scheduled to hold a confirmation hearing on Jan. 31.
A handful of Republicans have expressed their opposition to Hagel, a Republican who served two terms as senator from Nebraska. Democrats have been slow to embrace Hagel as well but appear to be warming to the president's pick.
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