WASHINGTON -- An influential Senate Democrat says he will back President Barack Obama's choice of Chuck Hagel for the top job at the Pentagon.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said in a statement Tuesday that he met with Hagel for 90 minutes on Monday and the Republican reassured him on issues ranging from Israel to gay rights.
Schumer said he found Hagel's responses to be genuine and not stated to quiet his critics. The Democrat urged his Senate colleagues who also had concerns about Hagel's nomination to support him.
The meeting occurred in the White House where Schumer also met with Obama, who tapped Hagel to replace Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.