Monday, March 12, 2007

Hagel Not Running for Now - Statement

Chcuk Hagel has this morning said that he will make a decision on his political future later this year. Hagel was widely expected to announce if he would seek the Presidency, or continue as a Senator from Nebraska.

However, Hagel is leaving his options open, saying that he believes that there "...will still be political options open to me at a later date."

This is Hagel's statement:

America stands at an historic crossroads in its history. It is against this backdrop that I find myself at my own crossroads on my political future.

Burdened by two wars, faced with dangerous new threats and global uncertainty, beset by serious long-term domestic problems and divided by raw political partisanship-America now reaches for a national consensus of purpose.

America's response to the challenges and opportunities that confront us today will define our future. Finding solutions to these challenges and capitalizing on these opportunities will not wait until the next election.

I have worked hard over the last ten years on foreign policy and national security issues, climate change and energy, education, entitlement reform, especially Social Security reform, health care, veterans benefits, GSE reform, and immigration reform.

This year will be an important year for these critical issues- and I intend to offer new initiatives on each of them. I want to give these and other subjects my full attention over the next few months. I believe it is in the interests of my Nebraska constituents and this country that I continue to work full time on these challenges.

America is facing its most divisive and difficult issue since Vietnam-the war in Iraq, an issue that I have been deeply involved in. I want to keep my focus on helping find a responsible way out of this tragedy, and not divert my energy, efforts and judgment with competing political considerations.

I am here today to announce that my family and I will make a decision on my political future later this year.

In making this announcement, I believe there will still be political options open to me at a later date. But that will depend on the people of Nebraska and this country. I cannot control that and I do not worry about it. I will continue to participate in events across this country, raising money for my Political Action Committee to assist Republican candidates, and raising funds for a Senate re-election campaign.

In conclusion, I would first like to commend my colleagues who are currently seeking their Party's presidential nomination. I admire each of them for their willingness to put themselves on the line and pursue their strong beliefs and ideals.

I believe the political currents in America are more unpredictable today than at any time in modern history. We are experiencing a political re-orientation, a redefining and moving toward a new political center of gravity. This movement is bigger than both parties.

The need to solve problems and meet challenges is overtaking the ideological debates of the last three decades-as it should. America is demanding honest, competent and accountable governance.

A global political readjustment is also in play today...and will respond to America's leadership. What is at stake for the future of America is larger than just American politics. Politics is simply the mechanism democracies use to affect responsible change. The world is not static, it is dynamic.

At the beginning of my remarks I said that America is reaching for a national consensus of purpose. We will find it because Americans expect it and will demand it. I do not believe America's greatness is lost to the 20th Century. There are chapters of America's greatness yet to be written. I intend to continue being part of America's story.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Hagel To Announce Monday?

Chuck Hagel is expected to announce his decision next Monday on whether he will seek the Republican nomination for President.

Hagel will be giving a press conference at 10am at the University of Nebraska.

Chuck Hagel has been a staunch critic of the Bush Administration over the failures in Iraq. However, on all other issues, he has been one of the strongest supporters of the Administration.

With all the other major candidates from the GOP being staunch supporters of the war, Hagel might emerge as a good choice for candidate's looking for a distinct difference from the current administration in regard to foreign policy.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chuck Hagel on Meet the Press

Senator Chuck Hagel will today again take part in an Iraq discussion on Meet the Press with Tim Russert. Hagel was one of 7 GOP Senators yesterday to vote with the Democrats on the Iraq Resolution in the Senate.

Also on the show will be White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow.

"A showdown this weekend on Iraq in both the House and Senate. We'll get exclusive reaction from White House Press Secretary Tony Snow and then speak with two Senators opposed to the president's troop surge - Republican Chuck Hagel of the Foreign Relations Committee and Democrat Jack Reed of the Armed Services Committee."

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Hagel on This Week

Chuck Hagel appeared this morning on ABC This Week to discuss the Iraq war debate in the Senate, but unfortunately for all of us, his colleague John McCain appeared on the same program but separately. Perhaps we were hoping for too much.

Have a look at the program here.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Hagel on ABC 'This Week' with McCain

Well, this is certainly going to be some match up.

Chuck Hagel and John McCain will be appearing on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos tomorrow in what is sure to be a fiery event.

Hagel has been extremely active on news programs in recent weeks, and is actively considering a bid for the Republican nomination. He will announce his decision within the next 2 weeks.

His passionate argument against the escalation to the Iraq war has been one of the highlights of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's hearings into Iraq.

McCain has been such a strong advocate for more troops to be sent to Iraq, that the recent announcement by President Bush has been called the "McCain Doctrine" by some opponents and pundits.

So expect the sparks to fly tomorrow. When Hagel gets fired up, he really gets fired up.

Could this be the first real debate between two possible Republican nominees?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Speculation Mounting on Hagel Run

Speculation has been mounting on a Presidential bid by outspoken critic of the Iraq war, Chuck Hagel.

Hagel has been prominent recently during the Iraq hearings by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, opposing the escalation plan by President Bush.

Over the last few weeks, the list of Republican candidates has grown substantially, with social conservative Sam Brownback and Mike Huckabee throwing their hats into the ring.

Hagel has said that he will be making an announcement soon - and we would expect that if he is running, to do something very shortly. He has been doing the media rounds on Fox News, Meet the Press, and last week on NBC Today.

Can Hagel secure enough support in the GOP to gain the nomination? He has certainly been on the outer with the White House and leading Republicans. But, frontunner candidates McCain, Giuliani and Romney have tied themselves closely to the President's strategy in Iraq.

If the GOP consider that a Hawkish candidate wont have a chance in the 2008 election, Hagel may be a viable option for them. He is, after all, conservative.

Newsweek in their next issue have a feature story on Hagel and his chances of winning the nomination, its worth a read.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hagel Leading Republican Voice Against War

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday passed a non binding resolution to oppose the decision to send more troops to Iraq.

Chuck Hagel was co-sponsor of the resolution. He said last night, that on November 7 last year the people made it clear that they wanted a change of direction on Iraq. This is an issue that people need to stand up on Hagel said.

The resolution will go before the full Senate next week, which Hagel says needs to happen - that people need to be on the record on this.

Hagel made it clear that the President cant govern on this issue without the support of the American people.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Iraq Policy Pingpong - Hagel

At the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning, Chuck Hagel called the Iraq Strategy by President Bush, a pingpong game with American lives.

Hagel said that "..we better be damn sure we know what we’re doing, all of us, before we put 22,000 more Americans into that grinder".

The Senate Committee will endorse legislation that will go before the full Senate next week, that the escalation of America's involvement in Iraq is not in the National interest.

The vote before the Senate will be close - however it does have the support of more than just Hagel. Declared Republican candidate for the Presidential nomination, Sam Brownback will also support the legislation against the surge in Iraq.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Hagel May Run - GOP Must Change

Chuck Hagel, appearing on Face the Nation yesterday has said that the Republican Party must change. Hagel said that the Party needs to get back to what it once stood for, and it is not the same party today as the one he first voted for on top of a tank in the Mekong Delta 1968.

Hagel has said that he is not a candidate at the moment, he "may be", but he will be making a decision very soon. And although he is primarily seen at the moment as an opponent of the Iraq war, his candidacy would not be primarily about this issue.

Although he considers Iraq as the centrepiece, there are other issues he would run on like fiscal responsibility, less government and personal responsibility.

He continues to speak out against the escalation plan, saying that "it is wrong to put American troops in the middle of a sectarian civil war".

Hagel said that there were kids dying every day and they deserve to have a policy worthy of their sacrifice.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Hagel on Meet the Press

Chuck Hagel appeared on Meet the Press with Tim Russert this morning to discuss President's Bush's plan to escalate US involvement in Iraq.

Also appearing this morning were Senators Chris Dodd, Joe Lieberman and Jon Kyl.

Hagel joined Dodd on the opposing side of the President's plan.

Hagel said nobody in congress wants a collapse of Iraq, but the issue is whether escalation of military involvement, is appropriate.

Citing the Baker-Hamilton Commission, Hagel said the emphasis should be focused on political solution in Iraq.

Hagel said that putting Americans in the middle of a tribal sectarian civil war is asking for trouble.

Regional powers like Iran and Syria must be included in a political settlement, as well as the support of the international community , Hagel said.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Hagel Slams Bush Iraq Plan

Senator Chuck Hagel has described the new President Bush plan on the Iraq War as the "...most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam..." and says that he does not agree with the escalation of US troops.

He said that it is wrong to put American troops in the middle of a civil war, and that the US would not win a war of attrition in the Middle East.

Hagel made his comments yesterday to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which is holding hearings on the Iraq War.

In a highly charged day in which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appeared before the Committee, Hagel's comments led to applause from the Senate gallery. As a Republican who has been a staunch opponent of the war, his latest comments have been widely reported in a week where Bush decided to increase US troops in Iraq by 21,500.

Hagel attacked Rice directly, telling her that "...when you set in motion the kind of policy that the president is talking about here, it's very, very dangerous."

See the video of a Hagel/Rice exchange, keep a look out for Rice trying to claim that the sending of extra troops is not an escalation.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Will Hagel Run?

In a race where the two leading GOP candidates soak up much of the media attention, Chuck Hagel might consider that this is a nomination that may be too hard to win. But there is a way to go yet.

Hagel has a solid and reliable record. In a year where the Iraq War will become an even more sordid an affair for the Bush Administration, attention will focus heavily on the current and previous positions of potential candidates.

Hagel has good form here. He was an early opponent of the war, urging extreme caution before the commitment of troops. And he recently has called for a phased withdrawal of U.S Troops. Hagel should know about war. He is a heavily decorated Vietnam Veteran.

The issue for Hagel will be if he can compete against the more prominent candidates, and if he can raise enough to run an effective campaign.

If, as is likely, the Iraq War becomes the issue in the 08 election, Hagel appears to have the most credibility on this matter. This could well appeal to Republicans who consider that the only hope to retain the White House is to distance themselves from the mistakes of the Bush Administration.

On the finance side it is anyone's guess. But if he does emerge as a front runner, expect the money to come, especially if some of the other leading candidates fall over along the way.

An announcement by Hagel may not be imminent, but it is almost certain that he is seriously considering the option.