May 21st, 2008
10:30 AM ET
11 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. Independent

    Right no McCain looks just like Bush – a warmonger with nothing but hatred for people who don't follow his way of thinking. He will never get my vote!

    May 21, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. Slick Rick

    The Truth Hurts! I like this Hagel guy. He's one of the few Republicans I would vote for.

    May 21, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. Straight Talk

    Hagel quit whining.

    I don't think this story is worth mentioning, but since you are reading it, Obmobus and his crew of CNN pundits certainly know how to dis Hillary. Now they are crying Give me a break. Imagine Obombus is whining again what a girlie man. More stories critical of everyone but ombumus. Give us all a break.

    You bet he scores badly with some Democrats. He is as green as the corn in Ohio in the spring. Yes the corn is green, since it hasn't had time to grow and mature yet and so is he.

    He has spent his life running for one job, obtaining it, then running for another before he establishes a mark.

    Let's set him straight and Super Delegates Vote for a proven leader, Vote Hillary.

    May 21, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. charles

    great news!!!

    May 21, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  5. Tonya from SC

    At least this Republican has some sense. Welcome to the Obama Movement. It will be a wise choice to go with his nomination.

    May 21, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  6. Matt

    go chuck

    It is a coalition that has democrats, independents and republican working to solve the same problems

    Obama 08

    May 21, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. After further review,Texas

    John McCain needs to have a brain scan done as soon as possible.The American people have a right to know his mental and physical condition before November.

    May 21, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  8. sue in PA

    McCain needs to learn from the mistakes Clinton made...! Coupled with his temper issues this might cause problems for him....

    May 21, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  9. mike e. cooney

    Hagel is a baggy eyed sissy who apparently sees NOTHING good about Iraq!? Well,there are no more rape rooms,no more childrens prisons(think Abu-Graib),no more wood chipper treatments,etc.Freedom does have a cost.Hagel and the other mollycoddled milksops on the far radical left would rather spend money on college degrees on lifers in prison,butterfly museums,health care for criminal illegals,farm subsidies to millionaire sugar/tobacco farmers and all the wastefull 1325 federal programs that are so outdated ,as to be CRIMINAL! Retire to the farm HAGEL....SOOOOOON!!!

    May 21, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  10. Fontapa

    Let's break this down.

    1) Bush's policy has failed utterly
    2) McCain wants to continue Bush's policy
    3) Obama doesn't

    Not exactly a complex issue here folks...

    May 21, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  11. Jim Alder

    McCain must be using our "Cuba" foreign policy approach. Can we afford 50 years of nothing?

    May 21, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  12. Koronin

    As if we needed further proof of just how out of touch McCain is with reality and with the country.

    McCain looks like he's going to go down in flames much like McGovern in 1972.

    May 21, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  13. SHANE IN CHICAGO

    I APPLAUD SENATOR HAGEL. HERE IS A MAN THAT HAS PROVEN TIME AND TIME AGAIN THAT HE IS WILLING TO SPEAK THE TRUTH IN SPITE OF WASHINGTON'S TREND TO RALLY BEHIND PARTY STANCES. WE HAVE COME TO A TIME IN OUR HISTORY WHERE WE NEED LEADERS WHO ARE WILLING TO TRANSCEND OUR DECREPID 2 PARTY SYSTEM, WHICH LENDS ITSELF TO STALEMATES AND INACTION. I FEEL MOST AMERICANS HAVE VALUES AND BELIEFS THAT FALL IN THE GRAY AREAS BETWEEN LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, AND WE NEED LEADERS WHO ARE GUIDED NOT BY PARTY AFFILIATIONS, BUT BY CONSCIENCE AND COMMON SENSE.

    May 21, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  14. CWatson

    Obama and his campaign have never said they would be "engaging Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad diplomatically" and they've say this to the media several times.

    Ahmadinejad doesn't control the nuclear program or the foreign policy. He isn't the top guy who the US should be talking to. Unfortunately, McCain and Bush don't seem to know that.

    May 21, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  15. from CT

    Great news! Even some wise republicans are coming out against Mccain's rhetoric.

    May 21, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  16. Dee Okla.

    Well said Mr. Hagel.

    May 21, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. from CT

    Or should I say Mccain/Bush rhetoric.

    May 21, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. Venus

    YES!

    Thank you Mr. Hagel!

    You know you are wrong when your friends go against you!

    Ha,h,ah,ha,! This is great!

    Well Mc Cain – Mr. Hagel has called you out on the carpet and questions your inexperience and reckless judgment!

    We know why you can't stop talking about Iran – you want to bomb that country –

    Go Obama! What a great speech last night that should rattle Mc Sane's cage!

    May 21, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  19. OBAMA SUPPORTER

    come on over mr hagel

    lots of rumers you would be a good vp for obama
    so come on over to our house you will be more then welcome

    May 21, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  20. georgia

    An honest & courageous man who's willing to acknowledge the smoke screens both McSame & Billary continue to attempt on the USA citizens. Obama & REAL change 08 !!!!

    May 21, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  21. Paul, Charlotte NC

    Yes, because our current strategy with dealing with our enemies has been SO effective thus far.

    What's that definition of insanity? Continuing to do the exact same thing expecting different results.

    May 21, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  22. If you stand for Nothing you will fall for anything!

    MacFlip-flop stand for nothing therefore he is fall for anything. They say empty cans make the most noise well Macflip-flop is proof of that.
    MacFilpflop sounds like a broken record who seem to be over obssed on Iran which he himself previously suggested that he would negociate with. Now that he is the Republican candidate, he is trying to APPEASE the conservative base by radically deviating from principles that he once stood for.

    May 21, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  23. GO OBAMA

    Hagel is right about McCain.
    If McSame makes it to the White House, he won't remember what he said during the campaign.

    May 21, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  24. GOP RULES

    YEAH MCCAIN!

    Have you ever wondered why the symbol of the Democrats is a DONKEY- Because you all are that?

    MCCAIN GOT THIS…

    I have never seen so many dumb people.

    LOL KEEP FIGHTING YOU ALL IS HELPING OUR PARTY. LOL

    WE are not even worrying about a backfire. We already know Democrats are dumb, LAZY and filled with HATE. Therefore, I hope Obama win so we can keep the Whitehouse because you all are too DUMB to go vote…lol

    MCCAIN 08 P.S. we will rule for another 4years and keep you ALL in your PLACE…lol

    SORRY DONKEYS (JACK- – – ) YOU WILL NOT GET THIS ELECTION

    May 21, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. Mike

    Like Roosevelt, JFK, and Reagan before him, Obama IS willing to open up dialogue with nations of a different persuasion in the hopes of some reconciliation. Bush has pissed off more countries and fueled more international discontent with his "my way or the highway" intransigence. McCain thinks it funny to "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran." McCain and Obama may not "love thy (international) neighbor, but Obama has the sense to realize we're ONE world and we sure as hell oughta learn to put our guns and nukes away, or we'll all sink together.

    May 21, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
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