Cochran, Wicker split on Hagel confirmation

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippi’s two U.S. senators split on the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary.

Sen. Thad Cochran was one of four Republicans who voted Tuesday for Hagel, a Republican former senator from Nebraska.

Cochran said in a statement that, “Hagel feels strongly that the United States should be the most capable military power in the world.”

Cochran also said Hagel “believes the United States must continue to be committed to Israel’s security and its ability to defend its borders.”

Republican Sen. Roger Wicker voted against confirmation, saying Hagel has a “record of troubling statements and positions, which fall well outside the bipartisan mainstream.”

Wicker also said U.S. troops and allies needed more comprehensive answers from Hagel during the confirmation process.

Hagel was confirmed on a 58-41 vote.