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4:11 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Blunt Will Vote Against Hagel's Confirmation

Updated 2/1/13 9:44 with news that Senator Blunt will be voting "No" on former Senator Hagel. Updated 2/1/13 3:03 with additions throughout.

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt says it was a bad day for former Senator Chuck Hagel, as he appeared before the committee that will consider his nomination to be defense secretary. Bad enough that he will be voting against Hagel's nomination. 

Both of Missouri’s U.S. Senators participated in the sometimes combative confirmation hearing. Hagel was put on the spot by several GOP members of the senate panel, taking him to task for prior statements on Israel and the troop surge in Iraq.

Senator John McCain, a supporter of the troop surge in Iraq in 2007, tried to get Hagel to admit he was wrong in opposing that influx of U.S. troops. Hagel said he would "defer to the judgment of history" to sort that out.

And Senator Lindsey Graham was harshly critical of Hagel for failing to sign letters in past years on designating Hezbollah a terrorist organization and backing Israel.

“There have been a lot of non-answers," Blunt said. "Answers like 'I’d like to see my comment in the full context,' even though he heard the whole question and heard the answer.”

Blunt, a Republican, told reporters after the hearing that Hagel was avoiding answering the questions.

“I don’t think it’s been a good day for Hagel. But it may not be a day that prevents the president from getting what he wants.”

Blunt told Fox News on Friday that he wasn't impressed.

“Frankly, I didn’t think his answers were very good," Blunt said. "And on the containment issue, I’ve become convinced that he really does believe his statements over the years that we could contain a nuclear Iran.”

But Blunt told MSNBC's Chuck Todd that he will not filibuster the nomination. Without a filibuster, Hagel can still pass with exclusively Democratic votes.

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill is also on the committee, and spent her time asking about war-time contracting and cutting down on waste. In an interview with MSNBC, McCaskill said she thought Hagel was more comfortable asking questions than answering questions.

McCaskill has yet to make up her mind how she will vote.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel