Vets groups' praise for Hagel adds pressure on GOP

By By DONNA CASSATA

WASHINGTON (AP) — Countering the Republican-led opposition to President Barack Obama's nominee for defense secretary is a less flashy but powerful constituency: military veterans.

Veterans' organizations have praised Chuck Hagel, a twice-wounded combat veteran of Vietnam and deputy administrator in President Ronald Reagan's Veterans Administration.

Republican-leaning outside groups have waged a well-funded campaign against Hagel in hopes of pressuring senators.

Hagel's first test could come as early as Thursday, with a possible vote in the Senate Armed Services Committee. Some Republicans are pressing for a delay in the vote, seeking more information from Hagel.

The former two-term Republican senator from Nebraska said in a letter to the committee that he has been forthright in providing all required information

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