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Only problem: The Indiana Republican wasn't where he was supposed to be and the witnesses arrayed before him weren't the Pentagon staffers he wanted to address about defense appropriations.

The Washington PostreportsCoats, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany, had thanked the witness for responding to his query about the Indiana National Guard and was about to ask a question when a staffer handed him a piece of paper. Coats read it and said aloud: "I just got a note saying I'm at the wrong hearing."

David Cohen, a Treasury Department undersecretary, responded: "Well, that would explain why I didn't know anything about this letter."

Coats, who first served in the U.S. Senate from 1989 to 1999 before coming back in 2011, is quoted as saying inThe Postreport that such a mix-up had never happened to him before. He eventually got to the defense hearing.

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