Hagel snags a Republican

Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi has become the first Senate Republican to say he’ll back Chuck Hagel’s nomination as defense secretary.

In an earlier interview with the World-Herald, Cochran seemed to be leaning that way.

“Chuck’s one of my best friends,” Cochran said at the time.

Cochran said he’s known Hagel since the Nebraskan came to Washington as a staffer for then-Rep. John Y. McCollister, R-Neb.

“I got to know him very, very well,” Cochran said. “And he married a girl from Meridian, Mississippi.”

Cochran was referring to Hagel’s wife, Lilibet, who is from Meridian and once worked as a staffer to a Mississippi congressman.

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