Senator Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska won't run for president in 2008 and will leave the Senate when his term ends in January 2009, a source close to the Nebraska Republican told CNN Saturday.
The source said Hagel - a vocal critic of the Bush administration - will hold a news conference in Omaha on Monday.
Hagel, 60, was a decorated infantry sergeant in Vietnam. He supported the 2002 congressional resolution that authorized the invasion of Iraq the following
year, but has become increasingly critical of the way the president has handled the war.
He called Bush's plan early this year to send thousands of additional U.S. troops to Iraq "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam."
Hagel was the only Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to back a measure condemning the decision to deploy an additional 30,000 troops in an effort to end the sectarian violence.
Despite his break with the party on Iraq, the North Platte native has an otherwise-orthodox GOP voting record.
He supported the Bush tax cuts in 2001, received a perfect score on abortion issues from the National Right to Life Committee and backed efforts to open part of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration.
Hagel, who was first elected in 1996, is latest Republican to announce he is voluntarily leaving the Senate.
On August 31, Sen. John Warner, R-Va., a foreign policy expert who also has criticized the administration's handling of Iraq, announced he would not seek a sixth term.
Warner, once secretary of the Navy, chaired the Armed Services Committee until Democrats seized both houses in the 2006 midterm election.
– CNN Capitol Hill Correspondent Dana Bash
They surely can't be retiring because they are too old because look at our awesome senator Robert C. Byrd...I guarantee that he will be in there until he croaks. His mind is pretty good and I don't think it is going anywhere. Something FISHY is going on in Washington.
I am sorry and disappointed to hear this. I now know why i never got a reply on if he would run for president as an independent. I would have voted and put a sign up for him in my yard. Well i guess I will go with John Edwards. Sir I believe you are clean, don't dirty yourself by working in Washington DC
Hagel is the only republican I have ever voted for. My father was having problems with his company paying for an injury, and he was VERY helpful getting it resolved. He will be missed.
Chuck Hagel was a diamond amongst the paste that is the republican party. I disagreed with much of his politics but always respected his honesty and integrity, much as I did Mccian before he went hind end to the ceiling last round to secure his chance at president in this round. Thanks Chuck
to Ray, Rochester -
Interesting and typical GOP comment – anyone in your party who thinks for himself, questions the leadership of doesn't follow blindly along, truck to tail, isn't a "true Republican." True-blue Republicans are those who drink the kool-aide and watch Faux News. Keeps them calm and in line.
Mr. Hagel is a credit to himself and what he tried to do. Those who did not serve in Vietnam are all for the war ... easy to fight a war using someone else's children ... those who have served in wartime, especially Vietnam know the true price being paid.
"The whole world needs you at a moment in time when this George W.'s idiocy is running wild! I am speaking as a Staunch Conservative Christian Republican!" Posted By H. D. Schmidt, Loma Linda, Ca. : September 8, 2007 2:27 pm
It was the staunch Conservative Christian Republicans who got us into the mess we're in now. They poured money and volunteered hours to elect Bush once. They observed his incompetence for four years, blindly supporting him and suggesting that those who questioned him were traitors. Then they poured more money and time into re-electing him.
Now they are saying what they said in 2000 and 2004: "We need to elect a TRUE conservative to get us out of this mess."
The lesson I have learned is that Conservatives can't govern because they have sold out lock, stock, and barrel to corporate interests. They don't do what they say they will do and they don't say what they really intend to do. You can't trust them.
I have also learned that the best Christians are in the pews. The Christian leadership is corrupt and is undeserving of the support of the mostly fine people they have misled. Christian congregations have been hornswaggled into supporting politicians and policies that will result in lower incomes and reduced freedom for their own membership. By falsely promising their members family values and a return to Norman Rockwell America in return for their votes, Christian leaders have sold out for power, fame, and money.