Santorum takes up fight against Hagel nomination

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is launching an effort to defeat the nomination of Chuck Hagel to head the Defense Department.

Santorum is a former Senate colleague of Hagel's and a fellow Republican. He says in a statement that Hagel's, quote, "anti-Israel, pro-Iran mindset" makes him unqualified for the Pentagon job.

President Barack Obama nominated Hagel on Monday, but he has faced strong opposition from Senate Republicans.

Santorum recently led a successful fight to defeat a U.N. treaty on the disabled, convincing several Senate Republicans to oppose ratification.

Supporters of Hagel's nomination are also lobbying on his behalf. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell will appear on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday to argue for the nominee.

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