By Special Contributor Larry Kane

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The biggest early test for the second Obama administration is close at hand.

The Hagel nomination faces heavy Republican opposition, but Democrats could be just as damaging and four senators from our area could be decisive votes.

Three are Democrats.

Bob Casey, of Pennsylvania, promises a close look at Hagel’s record.

Both Bob Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, of New Jersey, have expressed deep concern over Hagel because of what Hagel described as the Jewish Lobby and his softer approach over Iran.

There were very tough comments from Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey who says he intends to seek answers from Hagel on his opposition to Iran Sanctions and his sharp statements against Isreal along with his support for negotiation with Hamas in Gaza.

The Delaware Democrats seem to support Hagel, but the four senators from Pa. and New Jersey could be voting bloc that could, in a close vote, kill the nomination.

Bottom line, Hagel has a lot of explaining to do before he can lock up this nomination.

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