WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is poking a bit of fun at himself and his bruising Senate confirmation hearing.
It a swearing-in ceremony Thursday at the Pentagon, Hagel told applauding dignitaries and military commanders that the last time he received such a warm welcome was at the Senate session, where he faced fierce opposition from GOP senators who challenged the former Republican senator's truthfulness and patriotism.
He added, "I'm a better person for it," and joked that he didn't have much skin left.
Hagel was sworn in Feb. 27 in a private ceremony. Vice President Joe Biden presided over Thursday's ceremonial gathering, which was attended by a number of former Senate colleagues, Cabinet members and several men who served with Hagel and his brother in Vietnam.