(Associated Press) U.S. Senate Republicans have succeeded in delaying a confirmation vote on Chuck Hagel’s nomination as defense secretary, but signaled they would eventually relent and allow a vote after they return from their recess on February 25.

But the weeklong Senate recess gives outside interest groups opposed to Hagel’s nomination more time to sharpen their attack against President Barack Obama’s choice. They’re promising to scour Hagel’s record and to pressure senators to vote against him.

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