Minn. Sen. Franken calls Hagel 'war hero'

Published On: Jan 07 2013 04:59:20 PM CST
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) -

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is praising President Barack Obama's pick of former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary.

Franken calls Hagel, a decorated Vietnam combat veteran, "a war hero." And Franken is promising to listen to his testimony.

Franken says he know Hagel will get a tough time from Arizona Sen. John McCain. Hagel once made reference to the "Jewish lobby" in the United States, a comment that McCain called "inappropriate."

Some Democrats have criticized Hagel for saying in 1998 that a nominee for an ambassador post was "openly, aggressively gay." Franken, a Democrat, says Hagel has apologized for those comments, and he doesn't think that's a reason to deny him the post.

Franken also says he's interested in hearing Hagel's comments on Iran's nuclear program.