Panetta weary of fight over his successor

AP News
Posted: Feb 14, 2013 12:00 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The fight in Congress over confirming Leon Panetta's successor as defense secretary is getting on his nerves.

At a Pentagon award ceremony for former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Panetta said Thursday that it was fitting to recognize her accomplishments on Valentine's Day. And he said the second-best Valentine's Day present would be for the Senate to confirm Chuck Hagel and allow Panetta and his wife to "get the hell out of town."

He said he's got his belongings all packed.

Panetta, who is retiring after 18 months in the job and will return to California, has committed to waiting until his successor is confirmed. Hagel had his Senate confirmation hearing on Jan. 31, but the Senate has since become embroiled in a partisan fight over the nomination.