Obama Taps Sen. Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary

The president picks Nebraska Republican to lead Pentagon in his second term.
3:46 | 01/07/13

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Transcript for Obama Taps Sen. Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary
-- Chuck Hagel is the leader that our troops deserve. He is an American patriot. He enlisted in the army and volunteered for Vietnam. As a young private and then a sergeant he served with honor alongside his own brother. When chuck was hit by shrapnel his brother save. When his brother was injured by a mine. Chuck risked his life to -- -- the state. To this -- chuck -- the stars and the shrapnel from battles he fought. -- -- -- Chuck -- leadership of our military would be historic. He'd be the first person enlisted ranks to serve as secretary of defense. For a few secretaries who've been wounded in war. In the first Vietnam veteran to lead the department. I saw during our visits together to Afghanistan and Iraq. In Chuck Hagel. Just a champion of our troops and our veterans and our military camps. As a leader of the BA he fought to give our veterans the benefits they deserved. As head of the US all he devoted himself to caring for our troops. Having studied under the GI bill himself he helped lead the fight from post 9/11 GI bill so today is returning heroes. Can get their education to. Every coach -- my intelligence advisory board he knows that -- armed forces collect. Analyzing depend on good intelligence. Chuck recognizes that American leadership is indispensable in a dangerous world I saw this in our travels together across the Middle East. He understands that America stands strong us we -- -- balance and with friends. As a successful businessman. He also knows that even as we make tough fiscal choices we have to do so -- Guided by our strategy and keep our military the strongest fighting force the world has ever known. They -- more most importantly -- knows the war is not an abstraction. He understands that. Sending young Americans to fight. And -- in the dirt. And mud. That's something we only do what it's absolutely necessary. My frame of reference he is that is -- towards the guy at the bottom. Whose during the fighting. -- -- -- With chuck our troops will always know just like sergeant hagel was there for his own brother secretary Cagle. Will be -- for you. And finally -- represents the bipartisan tradition that we need -- and Washington. For his independence. And commitment consensus he's earned the respect of national security and military leaders Republicans and Democrats including me. In the setup I came to admire his courage his judgment his willingness to speak his mind even if it wasn't popular. Even if it defied the conventional wisdom. That's exactly the -- I want my national security. Recognition when it comes to the defense of our country we are not Democrats or Republicans we are Americans. Each of us has a responsibility. -- is set to be guided not by the interest of our party or president even but by the interest of our country. So chuck I think -- and low event. For agreeing to serve once more. In the interests of our --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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