The vote was 58-41, with four Republicans joining the Democrats in backing the contentious choice. Hagel's only GOP support came from former colleagues Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Dick Shelby of Alabama and Mike Johanns of Nebraska — all three had announced their support earlier — and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
The vote came just hours after Republicans dropped their unprecedented delay of a Pentagon choice and allowed the nomination to move forward on a 71-27 vote.
Hagel, 66, a former two-term Nebraska senator and twice-wounded Vietnam combat veteran, succeeds Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Hagel is expected to be sworn in at the Pentagon on Wednesday.
Obama welcomed the bipartisan Senate vote, although 41 Republicans opposed his nominee, and said in a statement that "we will have the defense secretary our nation needs and the leader our troops deserve."
The looked past the divisions and said he was grateful to Hagel "for reminding us that when it comes to our national defense, we are not Democrats or Republicans, we are Americans, and our greatest responsibility is the security of the American people."
Republicans had opposed their onetime colleague, casting him as unqualified for the job, hostile toward Israel and soft on Iran. The objections remained strong well after the vote.
"I continue to have serious questions about whether Chuck Hagel is up to the job of being our secretary of defense," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a statement. "I hope, for the sake of our own national security, he exceeds expectations."
Hagel joins Obama's retooled second-term, national security team of Secretary of State John Kerry and CIA Director-designate John Brennan at a time of uncertainty for a military emerging from two wars and fighting worldwide terrorism with smaller, deficit-driven budgets.
Among his daunting challenges are deciding on troop levels in Afghanistan as the United States winds down its combat presence and dealing with $46 billion in budget cuts set to kick in on Friday. He also will have to work with lawmakers who spent weeks vilifying him.
Republicans insisted that Hagel was battered and bloodied after their repeated attacks during the protracted political fight.
"He will take office with the weakest support of any defense secretary in modern history, which will make him less effective on his job," said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the Senate GOP's No. 2 Republican.
Not so, said Democratic Sen. Jack Reed, who pointed out that Hagel now has the title and the fight is history.
"All have to work together for the interest of the country," said Reed, D-R.I.
The vote ended one of the most bitter fights over a Cabinet choice and former senator since 1989 when the Democratic-led Senate defeated newly elected President George H.W. Bush's nomination of Republican John Tower to be defense secretary.
In the course of the rancorous, seven-week nomination fight, Republicans, led by freshman Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, insinuated that Hagel has a cozy relationship with Iran and received payments for speeches from extreme or radical groups. Those comments drew a rebuke from Democrats and some Republicans.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, dismissed the "unfair innuendoes" against Hagel and called him an "outstanding American patriot" whose background as an enlisted soldier would send a positive message to the nation's servicemen and women.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., questioned how the confirmation process devolved into a character assassination in which Hagel was accused of "having secret ties with our enemies."
"I sincerely hope that the practice of challenging nominations with innuendo and inference, rather than facts and figures, was an aberration and not a roadmap," she said in a statement after the vote.
Obama got no points with the GOP for tapping the former two-term Republican senator. GOP lawmakers excoriated Hagel and cast him as a radical far out of the mainstream.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., clashed with his onetime friend over his opposition to President George W. Bush's decision to send an extra 30,000 troops to Iraq in 2007 at a point when the war seemed in danger of being lost. Hagel, who voted to authorize military force in Iraq, later opposed the conflict, comparing it to Vietnam and arguing that it shifted the focus from Afghanistan.
McCain said several GOP lawmakers also had "a lot of ill will" toward the moderate Republican for his criticism of Bush and his backing for Democratic candidates.
Shortly after a White House meeting with Obama on immigration on Tuesday, McCain voted against his onetime friend and fellow Vietnam veteran.
Republicans also challenged Hagel about a May 2012 study that he co-authored for the advocacy group Global Zero, which called for an 80 percent reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons and the eventual elimination of all the world's nuclear arms.
In an echo of the 2012 presidential campaign, Hagel faced an onslaught of criticism by well-funded, Republican-leaning outside groups that labeled the former senator "anti-Israel" and pressured senators to oppose the nomination. The groups ran television and print ads criticizing Hagel.
Opponents were particularly incensed by Hagel's use of the term "Jewish lobby" to refer to pro-Israel groups. He apologized, saying he should have used another term and should not have said those groups have intimidated members of the Senate into favoring actions contrary to U.S. interests.
The nominee spent weeks reaching out to members of the Senate, meeting individually with lawmakers to address their concerns and seeking to reassure them about his policies.
Hagel's inconsistent performance during some eight hours of testimony during his confirmation hearing last month undercut his cause.
On Feb. 12, the Armed Services Committee approved the nomination on a party-line vote of 14-11. Two days later, a Democratic move to vote on the nomination fell a few votes short as Republicans insisted they needed more time to consider the pick.
Hagel's nomination also became entangled in Republican demands for more information about the deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last September. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in that attack.
Republicans allowed the nomination to move forward, with 18 Republicans joining the Democrats. Many had warned against the precedent of denying a president his Cabinet choices.
Paul's vote for Hagel came as something of a surprise. Moira Bagley, a spokeswoman for the senator, said that while he disagrees with Hagel on a number of issues, Paul believes a president should have some leeway in his political appointments.
Missing the vote was Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey.
___ Follow Donna Cassata on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DonnaCassataAP
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A parolee originally charged with attempted murder in the Alton, Illinois stabbings of two brothers has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated battery.
The (Alton) Telegraph reports that Lavonte Brownlee entered the plea after prosecutors agreed to drop the more serious counts.
Authorities say Brownlee stabbed 40-year-old John Parker and 31-year-old Jay Parker last September outside the B&R Tavern after a dispute inside the East Alton business.
Police say John Parker was stabbed as many as 10 times, and his younger brother sustained two wounds. Both survived.
Brownlee was on parole after prison terms for armed robbery, home invasion and battery.
Making his first appearance since injuring his shoulder in the playoffs, the left-hander got through two shutout innings Tuesday as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Boston Red Sox 15-4.
In Game 2 of the NL division series against Washington, Garcia was pulled after two innings because of a strained rotator cuff and inflammation.
Garcia kept the Red Sox scoreless, working around three hits and a walk. He threw 43 pitches, 30 for strikes, and struck out two.
"I'm excited about today," Garcia said. "This is good, but I'm not going to sit here and tell you this is the best I've ever felt. No. This is good. This is good enough. I'm excited about that. But compared to last year, this is something I can build on."
Garcia gave up consecutive singles to Jackie Bradley Jr. and Daniel Nava to open the game before retiring the next three batters, including Ryan Lavarnway on a strikeout.
With one out in the second, Garcia walked Drew Sutton and gave up a double to Jose Iglesias before getting out of the inning, fanning Bradley to end the inning.
"To be honest with you, there was some excitement going on there especially because it was the first time in a real game after the stuff that happened last year," Garcia said. "A lot of good things from it. Physically, I feel fine. A little jumpy at the beginning. I was happy with the way I felt physically, with the way it went."
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was pleased with what he saw from Garcia.
"I made a commitment to myself not to microscope him," Matheny said. "I just know he's going to be out there. He's going to do the things that he says he's going to be out there to do. He looked good today."
Boston starter Ryan Dempster made his Grapefruit League debut against a familiar foe. He has appeared in 49 career games against the Cardinals, more than any other active pitcher.
Signed as a free agent in the offseason, he pitched two hitless innings and struck out two. He threw 33 pitches, 24 for strikes. The only runner against him was Oscar Tavares, who reached on an error by second baseman Jonathan Diaz.
"Things went good," Dempster said. "Felt like body and arm felt good. Was able to attack the strike zone for the most part. Good first day."
Red Sox manager John Farrell enjoyed Dempster's outing.
"He threw the ball well, established his fastball, showed a good split against righties and lefties both," Farrell said. "Went out and did exactly what we hoped he'd do in two innings of work."
"He was clean. Did a good job of controlling the running game. I thought he threw the ball very well for his first outing in camp," he said.
Red Sox reliever Clayton Mortensen took the loss, allowing three runs on two hits and two walks in two innings. Tony Cruz hit a three-run double with two outs in the third.
"I thought he threw the ball better than the line shows," Farrell said.
Matt Adams, who had been slowed by tendinitis in his knee, had a two-run, pinch-hit homer for the Cardinals. He later drew a bases-loaded walk.
"He's got big-time power," Matheny said. "He's got a pretty good idea of the strike zone and a pretty good idea of his swing and he repeats it."
NOTES: Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz, who had been slowed by a right hamstring strain on the first day of official workouts for pitchers and catchers, threw a two-inning, 40-pitch simulated game Tuesday morning. He is expected to start Saturday against the Twins. ... Boston 1B Mike Napoli is expected to get into his first game on Friday when the Red Sox host the Pirates. Napoli, who joined Boston as a free agent this offseason, is being brought along slowly this after his team physical revealed he has avascular necrosis in both hips. ... Farrell didn't rule out the possibility of Bradley, one of Boston's top prospects, making the team out of spring training. Bradley, who was promoted to Double-A during the season last year, will get some games in right field when Shane Victorino leaves for the World Baseball Classic. ... Switch-hitting SS Rafael Furcal reported he felt fine after taking some swings left-handed on Monday. Furcal, who tore a ligament in his right elbow last season and has been bothered by a bone spur this spring, received an anti-inflammatory injection in the joint on Friday. He said he could get into a game this weekend for the Cardinals.