A new Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll shows about half of Americans call the cuts too severe and a slightly smaller percentage say they're necessary to reduce the deficit. Other recent polls show similar findings.
Former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, freshly confirmed by the Senate as defense secretary, mentioned the latest fiscal crisis — which hits defense accounts particularly hard — in his first remarks on the job on Wednesday.
"We're dealing with less dollars coming down," Hagel told Pentagon workers. He said he's particularly troubled by "the uncertainty" that lies ahead.
"Now, I've got to go to work," he said.
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