Republican Chuck Hagel, President Obama's choice for defense secretary, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is criticizing Senate Republicans for delaying the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as his secretary of defense. The president said his opponents are using politics while the nation is still in a war in Afghanistan.
Obama called Hagel, who is a former senator and Vietnam veteran, "eminently" qualified for the job Thursday and expressed confidence he would ultimately be confirmed. He said Republicans now insist that every issue and nomination requires a super majority of 60 votes.
Senate Democrats on Thursday came up short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a procedural step that would have permitted a vote on Hagel's confirmation.
Obama said blocking Hagel with a filibuster was "just about unprecedented."
The president made his remarks during a Google online forum to promote his initiatives.
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