Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel had a decidedly bad confirmation hearing in front of the Senate yesterday. But the New York Times and USA Today have leaped to his defense this morning.

NYT editorialized today: “[A]fter his appearance, it’s clear that Mr. Hagel is very much in the mainstream of American foreign policy, has a résumé and experience that would be valuable at the Pentagon and is capable of speaking his mind, even if he allowed himself on Thursday to back off on some positions, like his concern for Palestinians, in the face of a Republican attack on his nomination. Republicans on the military affairs panel may vote against him for political reasons, but they have no cause to do so, and he should be confirmed by the full Senate.”

And the same from USA Today: “Republican senators roughed up their former colleague Chuck Hagel throughout his confirmation hearing Thursday to be secretary of Defense, but they produced no convincing proof that his views are outside the mainstream or that the decorated Vietnam combat veteran is unfit to head the Pentagon.”

The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal have yet to weigh in on Hagel post-hearing.