May 21st, 2008
10:30 AM ET
7 years ago

Hagel criticizes McCain over Iran comments

Hagel is upset with some of McCain's comments on Iran.
Hagel is upset with some of McCain's comments on Iran.

(CNN) - John McCain needs to cool his rhetoric attacking Barack Obama over foreign policy, one of the Arizona senator's good friends in the Senate said.

According to a report on Huffingtonpost.com, Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican and long time friend of McCain, said Tuesday he is "very upset" with some of the things the party's presumptive presidential nominee has been saying as he campaigns for the White House.

"We know from past campaigns that presidential candidates will say many things," Hagel reportedly said. "But once they have the responsibility to govern the country and lead the world, that difference between what they said and what responsibilities they have to fulfill are vastly different."

"I'm very upset with John with some of the things he's been saying," Hagel added. "And I can't get into the psychoanalysis of it. But I believe that John is smarter than some of the things he is saying. He is, he understands it more. John is a man who reads a lot, he's been around the world. I want him to get above that and maybe when he gets into the general election, and becomes the general election candidate he will have a higher-level discourse on these things."

Hagel, who is not running for reelection in November, has become an outspoken critic of the War in Iraq and he said in April he is open to the possibility of endorsing Obama's candidacy.

Speaking Tuesday night at the Italian ambassador's Washington residence, Hagel specifically took issue with McCain's criticisms of Obama's position that he would be willing to meet with leaders like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinjad without preconditions.

"I never understand how anyone in any realm of civilized discourse could sort through the big issues and challenges and threats and figure out how to deal with those without engaging in some way," Hagel said.

Hagel's comments follow a prolonged back and forth between both McCain and Obama over the best way to deal with Iran. Speaking to CNN Tuesday, Obama said McCain "essentially wants to continue George Bush’s policies of not talking to leaders we don’t like and not talking to countries we don’t like."
McCain suggested at a Chicago campaign event Monday that Obama doesn’t understand the "basic realities of international relations" and that engaging Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad diplomatically would only embolden him.

"Senator Obama has declared, and repeatedly reaffirmed his intention to meet the President of Iran without any preconditions, likening it to meetings between former American Presidents and the leaders of the Soviet Union," said McCain. "Such a statement betrays the depth of Senator Obama’s inexperience and reckless judgment."


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (463 Responses)
  1. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    I don't know. Maybe Obama/Hagel might be a good idea.

    I mean, it could siphon off voters from McCain... something to think about.

    May 21, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Ted van Tol

    If Obama would come to visit the Netherlands we could
    easely bring 75000 people in the center of Amsterdam.
    He is very welcome!
    When McCain would come I dont think everybody is hiding!

    Europe for Obama!!

    May 21, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  3. Zein

    hahahhahah Its time for mccain to consider quitting and heading to Kentucky!. that 89yrs old granny needs to be screaming in a nursing home !
    GO Obama !
    Go Dems

    Barack Obama D-iLL 08

    May 21, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. Larry B

    Why do so many people think he's making a bid for VP? It's this kind of gullibility that gave us "Dubya". Speaking of the devil, Why is the "liberal media" regurgitating all this "appeasement" hoopla? If it is liberal why aren't they exposing the fact that the Bush family (Prescott) financially aided and abetted the Nazi's before & after the start of WWII? I would say that's far worse than appeasement.

    May 21, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  5. Keith from Adam county Indiana

    I agree with you Mr. Senator, McShane will continue Bush's Policies and make people around the world hate us more than ever. I know it takes a lot of guts for you to take that stand. But it demonstrate that you have character and willing to do what's best for your country. Thank you sir!

    May 21, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  6. God Bless America

    The "Right Wing" is comming to the Right Side!

    OBAMA ....................CROSSING PARTY LINES TO UNITE AMERICA!!!!!!

    THIS MAN IS GREAT!!!!!!!

    May 21, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  7. Who is the straight talker?

    Sen. Hagel said "We know from past campaigns that presidential candidates will say many things," Hagel reportedly said. "But once they have the responsibility to govern the country and lead the world, that difference between what they said and what responsibilities they have to fulfill are vastly different."

    In other words Sen. Hagel is saying that please don't take Sen. Obama's words seriously because he is inexperienced and fresh, for he will be a different man when he becomes president when he would have the responisbility of the office. This is probably true but laughable for Sen. Hagel to use as the arguement. Am I to treat seriously Sen. Obama's claim that he opposed giving Pres. Bush the power to take miltary action (go to war) against Iraq from the start? Well, at the time Obama was not yet a US senator. He had no voting responsibility. Would he had voted for the war if he had the responsibility of the office of a US senator?

    This is so offensive to me. Are we to accept junk talk and irresponsible campaing promises from the candidates?

    I found the above comment made by Sen. Hagel another example of how Obama supporters completely ignored the flaws and shortcomings of Sen. Obama because they are voting with their heart instead of with their head. People like that are in for the surprise of their life if Sen. Obama is elected. Remember George W. Bush said "no nation-building..." in 2000.

    May 21, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  8. Tony

    McCain is TOO SIMPLE!!

    Hey buddy, what republican isn't?

    May 21, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Ilona Proud Canadian

    Chuck Hagel,

    Thank you for the subtle defence of Barack. I am sure that, should you decide to endorse Barack, you will be welcomed with open arms!

    To all of those suspicious minds, do you think that it is possible that Sen. Chuck Hagel, is really being genuine? I do believe that he is. I can understand the McCain supporters attacking him, because he is outspoken in his critique of McCain, but the Democratic supporters should be more open minded.

    E Powell 1 MD. e Powell MD 11 and E R. Powell

    I agree with you.

    I really feel that there is something really wrong with McCain. Just look at his eyes when he is speaking. He speaks as though he is being spoon fed, and his eyes seem very vacant.

    Again thank you Chuck!

    May 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. Tony

    Curious George for VP!

    As long as we're going to lose, why not?

    May 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. Tartessos

    Kate said: "How does he [Obama] feel about Iranian television brainwashing children to hate the Western world?"

    Even better, how do *you* feel about the fact that many American children are brainwashed to hate brown people who don't worship Jesus?

    Kate also said: "I want a leader who has a better understanding of how the foreign policy works..."

    Did you vote for Bush? If so, forgive me while I burst out in condescending laughter.

    Continued: "...and understands that there are people in the world who have hated the Western world LONGER than Bush has been in office."

    Of course there are. However, that number pales in comparison with the number of people over there with *justifiable* hatred for the USA now, due to our actions.

    May 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. get with the program

    The repubs are falling apart and crossing over in support of Obama, just like Hillary's supporters. very wise choice. No more bush/clinton politics.

    May 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. marco

    Alex,
    Deal!
    I'll take Hagel for Lieberman anytime.

    May 21, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
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