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Chuck Hagel faced tough questioning from senators Thursday as he sought to win their confidence to be the next Defense secretary, with a top Republican accusing him of “appeasing America’s enemies” as his confirmation hearing got underway.

Hagel, a former Republican Nebraska senator, urged lawmakers not to write him off based on a string of controversial votes and quotes from his career in the Senate.

But the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, announced at the start of the hearing that he would be opposing Hagel.

“On many of the security challenges facing U.S. interests around the world, Senator Hagel’s record is deeply troubling, and out of the mainstream. Too often it seems he’s willing to subscribe to a worldwide view that is predicated on appeasing our adversaries while shunning our friends,” he said. Further, he accused Hagel of recent “reversals” in his opinions “that seem based on political expediency rather than on core beliefs.”

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