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U.S. Senate confirms Hagel as secretary of defense


WASHINGTON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Chuck Hagel on Tuesday as President Barack Obama's new secretary of defense.

Senators backed the nomination by a 57-41 vote, as voting continued, with only about four Republicans joining Democrats in support of Hagel, a Republican former U.S. senator from Nebraska.

Hagel needed only 51 votes to be confirmed as the new civilian leader at the Pentagon. (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Christopher Wilson)