Hagel inches nearer to secretary of defense confirmation

Chuck Hagel, the former two-term Republican senator from Nebraska, is reportedly moving towards confirmation as U.S. secretary of defense, despite a deeply divided Senate.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that Hagel would have enough support to win approval should Republicans give up on using delaying tactics. Before the Senate began a brief recess, Republicans had succeeded in blocking a confirmation vote, according to the L.A. Times.

"I think it will happen barring some additional revelation concerning his comments about Israel and all those other really unfortunate things he's said in the past," McCain said, the L.A. Times reports.

Fifteen Republican senators recently called on President Barack Obama to withdraw Hagel's nomination in a letter. McCain was not among its signatories. The senator has said in the past that he believes presidents deserve a senate vote on their cabinet nominees.

"I do not believe that Chuck Hagel, who is a friend of mine, is qualified to be secretary of defense," McCain said, the L.A. Times reports. "I do believe that elections have consequences - unfortunately. And the president of the United States was reelected."

McCain has not been so definite about his views on the prospects of John Brennan, the administration's counterterrorism advisor selected to head the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.