Obama Administration

Hagel Apologizes for Old, Anti-Gay Comments

Smoothing the way for a possible Secretary of Defense nomination

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Former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel issued an apology Friday for comments he made in a 1998 interview that have drawn sharp criticism from a major gay-rights group and that could put his possible bid for defense secretary in jeopardy.

"My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive," Hagel said in a statement. "They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights."

The newest Hagel controversy stems from comments he made during a debate over the nomination of James Hormel to be ambassador to Luxembourg. Hagel had said Hormel was "openly aggressively gay."