Manchin apologizes to Hagel for tone of hearing

Late in Chuck Hagel's Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) apologized to the former Nebraska senator.

"I feel like I want to apologize for some of the tone and demeanor today," Manchin said. 

Manchin had earlier made clear that he would support Hagel's nomination. But the nominee engaged in testy exchanges with many Republican senators, who repeatedly questioned his commitment to Israel, his support for Iran sanctions and his commitment to maintaining a nuclear arsenal.

A few minutes before Manchin's apology, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said that some people thought he had been "disrespectful" in asking Hagel why he thought the Iranian Foreign Ministry "so strongly supports your nomination." (The ministry expressed "hope there will be practical changes in American foreign policy" with Hagel's confirmation.) Inhofe asked Hagel directly if the nominee agreed.

"No, it was a legitimate question," Hagel replied.

Sen. Jeff Sessions joked soon after, "You're holding up well."

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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Lori Montgomery | January 31, 2013