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.