July 11th, 2008
06:26 PM ET
6 years ago

Fueling VP speculation, Obama heading to Iraq with Hagel, Reed

 Sens. Reed and Hagel will accompany Obama on a trip to Iraq.
Sens. Reed and Hagel will accompany Obama on a trip to Iraq.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama is heading to Iraq later this month with two Senate colleagues, Republican Chuck Hagel and Democrat Jack Reed, according to two sources familiar with the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's plans.

The sources said the official Congressional delegation trip, known as a CODEL, will occur around the time Obama heads overseas for a previously-announced campaign trip to France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, and Jordan to help beef up his foreign policy credentials. Officials are keeping the precise dates of Obama's trip under wraps, however, for obvious security reasons.

The inclusion of Hagel on the official portion of the trip is guaranteed to further fuel speculation that Obama might pick a Republican as a running mate on a presidential ticket aimed at winning over independents. Hagel, who privately discusses foreign policy matters with both Obama and Republican presumptive presidential nominee John McCain, has publicly left the door open to a possible bipartisan ticket.

Watch: Hagel as Obama's VP?

Aides to Hagel and Reed both refused to comment when asked by CNN about the upcoming trip.

The Nebraska Republican could also be a contender for a Cabinet post like Defense Secretary if either Obama or McCain wins, according to strategists in both parties, because of his friendship with both candidates.

Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island, is an Army veteran who is respected in both parties for his knowledge of national security issues. Democratic strategists privately say Reed is highly-regarded by Obama and could also find himself on the short list for a variety of posts in a potential Democratic administration.

There has been speculation that the delegation may also stop in Afghanistan, but sources familiar with the trip would not confirm the possibility of a second stop.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iraq
soundoff (428 Responses)
  1. Paul in Alexandria, VA

    I respect Senator Hagel's willingness to criticize his own administration but that doesn't mean he should be put on the ticket. He's still a conservative opposed to the right to privacy every Democrat and many Republicans hold dear!

    Like Bill Cohen, Hagel might make a good Defense Secretary though.

    As for Jack Reed, he is an excellent, hard-working, experienced Senator who would make a quiet and very popular VP. I think his VP status is the one that should be watched.

    Right now, I'd have to say that Gov. Tim Kaine, and Senator's Joe Biden and Reed are in the lead for VP.

    July 11, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  2. mrkusn

    Chuck Hagel would be a smart choice for VP on the Obama ticket.
    1) Hagel gains the 10% (or more) Independant vote
    2) Hagel can win over Republicans as well as those in the heartland of America
    3) Hagel has a good foreign policy track-record

    On the bad side, Hagel may madden very left wing voters.

    This should be interesting. Hagel brings more legitimacy to the "get-out-of-Iraq-now" position.

    July 11, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. Oregon4Obama

    All this VP talk is rediculous.......we are still 4 months away from the general election......the only person who has a VP already is Ralph Nader

    Let obama go overseas with whoever he wants......Either way he will be embraced with open arms from all of the places he wants to go....polls show an overwhelming number of the WORLD want Obama as President.....

    July 11, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. Dennis

    I'd rather Senator Obama stayed in the States, but if he feels he must go overseas, then so be it.

    I wouldn't mind Hagel as VP, but I'd prefer Biden, Edwards, or Clinton amongst others. Hagel seems like an intelligent man.

    July 11, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  5. LIZ

    Hagel as Obama's VP is ridiculous! Can you imagine the Democratic Convention supporting Obama with a Republican VP? First the Democratic National Committee gave Obama some of our votes away from Hillary when he wasn't even on the ballot. Now he would consider a Republican VP??? I voted a Democratic Primary ticket for Hillary with a portion of my vote going to someone not on the ballot that becomes the nominee that considers a Republican VP?? What happened to our vote matters?? It means less everyday. I hope the Democrats get smart and figure out a way to put Hillary Clinton as our Presidental nominee during the convention.

    July 11, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  6. Gary

    Obama will go in what ever direction the voters will favor it the most. That is the way he is ,he goes that way on almost every issue.What ever is the popular thing at the time with the voters. Right down to having a Republican for a running Mate .Go figure ?

    July 11, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  7. Louis Albany ny

    (Sen. Barack H Obama has to take someone with him who can think on his feet because Sen. Obama has a reputation for not being able to give off the cuff statements, answers, or ask appropriate questions.

    Sen. Obama is trying to court Republican votes and that's why he's not going with two Democrats. Don't be deceived by Politics.)

    Wow, do you honestly think that. Obama has graduated from Havard, served 1 term on the senate, and then beat the clintons. Are you really doubting his intelligence?

    Second, if he was able to accomplish that for himself. Can you imagine what he could do for the country?

    Third, he predicted the outcome of the iraq war and voted against it. Mcain voted for it.

    Now, what has Mcain accomplished in comparison? He was a POW? I do respect his patriotism, but i do believe he belongs in the Military.

    Also, hes 72 years old. I don't think they would hire him at my IT Job, so why should he be qualified to run the country? Don't give me the age discirmation, it's a scientific fact that your cognitive abilities dwindle with age.

    We have seen what 8 years of Bush, now let's see something different.

    July 11, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  8. KE

    Sen. Obama said he will visit Iraq and Afghanistan this summer.
    Sen. Obama said he will debate with Sen. McCain anywhere anytime.

    I think the Obama campaign should just go ahead and do what they say rather than advertise them and cancel them later.

    His words has no credibility.

    I can't believe it till I see it.

    His VP candidages should have run for president themselves.

    July 11, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  9. paul

    Hey Norma the The biggest Dope here is you. You and your elk hate the fact things are working out in Iraq.

    you cannot stand the fact Bush will get credit for it. you and your party just wants to lose because you have no guts on how to win. McCain might not be so great, but Obama is a fool.

    July 11, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  10. Andy B

    Obama doesn't have a chance. Our glorious leader (cough) will start WW III (Iran) and lead America past total destruction. There's a draft just around the corner.

    July 11, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  11. bern

    Hagel as VP would not be a good idea. It is about the economy and civil liberties first.....the albatross that is Iraq and other foreign policy issues can be addressed by any number of democrats and it does not have to be the VP. Hagel to way too far to the right on some domestic stuff and simply would be overkill. Reed, Biden or Wes Clark would work better if the VP slot has be include a white male. Personally, I would much prefer Kathleen Sebelius over any of the others.

    July 11, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  12. Brian

    He's ridiculous. I'll put up with four more years of a Republican leader in the White House who has experience and grey hair and we'll let Clinton get us out of this mess and back on the road to greatness in 2012.

    July 11, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  13. portateck

    Obama is nothign but an empty suit who is lost without the teleprompter. He changes positions to suit the 'mood of the day'. God help us if this hollow man is elected pres. Don't hold your breath about Hagel..

    July 11, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  14. Dee Dee

    No not as VP but someplace in the Cabinet.

    July 11, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  15. Bill

    Okay, tell me again Bushies: Just how does getting shot down in Vietnam and being held prisoner, tortured, made to denounce your country, and brainwashed qualifiy you to lead?

    July 11, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  16. J. Smith

    Guess this boosts Jack Reed's VP stock as well. Can he run as VP and still run for re-election under Rhode Island rules?

    July 11, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  17. Alex

    This quote floors me-

    Im a dem and don't care what Obama is doing. The media treats him like a rock star with no experience. I vote experience so this dem is going with McCain.

    If you want to vote for experience, write in Rumsfeld and Cheney-they were touted as having more experience than anyone...and they did! Now, look at their decisions, their arrogance, incompetence, their negligence, not to mention culpability, and you might want to consider a little something I call PLATFORM and VOTING RECORD. That might matter just a bit.

    OK-McCain:
    Wants to keep troops in Iraq-for possibly "up to 100 years"
    Wants to keep tax cuts in place for the wealthiest 1% of Americans
    Wants to allow corporations to move jobs and even headquarters overseas, but still take advantage of tax loopholes
    Wants to make abortion illegal
    Wants to keep abstinence only programs in place-when latest headline is "Teen Pregnancy Up for First Time in 15 Years" as reported by the National Institute of Health (that's a government agency, BTW)

    I'm not sure how a Democrat could vote for that platform, but I know my conscience wouldn't let me.

    You can't substitute logic and reason with experience. It just doesn't work that way. One hopes logic and reason come with experience, but the last 7 years proves that is not always so.

    July 11, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  18. Bubba Jones

    I don't think it's a good idea. If the Democrats want to say they're the party of change, and are the way to lead us out of the mess the Republicans have got us into, what is the point of putting a Republican who may be more to the right than McCain on the ticket? It makes no sense. You can't say you're the party of change when you have a ticket that looks like more of the same.

    July 11, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  19. Syed

    i am surprised to hear Chuck Hagel a Republican in Democratic VP in a joint ticket with Sen.Barak Obama.Well Sen Barak might be thinking he can win Independent vote. But still he is a Democrat and running for President in Democratic ticket. he might anger lot solid democratic voters specially Hillary supporters ,18 millions of them in solid Democratic states likw PA,OH,In,WV,KY,FL,Mi, Tn,Ak and lot many other states. Is there anybody as strong as Hillary Clinton and of course President Bill Clinton who can really help him win in Nov.4.He still has time and think seriously taking Sen.Hillary as VP and win landslide in Nov.4. As a Democratic voter I will advice him to take Hillary as VP and any concious voter will say him the same advice.This is a must win for Sen.Barak Obama.I do not think he should not take any other chance other than seriously considering Sen.HIllary as VP if he really wants to sure win in Nov.4. thanks.

    July 11, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  20. DP

    Wake up. The time for change is now. I don't know about you but I sick and tired of business as usual. It's more then just words it really is about honestly. We need someone who is fresh and committed to hear the concerns of the common folk out here who are hurting from the mess created over the last eight years. It's just not experience that counts it is a genuine gut feeling that connects to the guy who sweats for a living every day to pay his bills. Obama is a candidate who can work across the partisan divide and unite this country again. Divided we fall, united we stand. To many politicians just try to trip each other up and the crash is our common agony. It time for a new kind of politician.

    July 11, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  21. madeline Michel

    Chuck hagel's voting record is exactly the opposite of Obama's in every area from guns, to civil rights to workers' rights to the environment. Sharing a ticket would be ridiculous.

    July 11, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  22. Dr.Mimi De La Cruz

    I AM SURE THIS DELEGATION WILL REMIND THE IRAQI

    PEOPLE TO START PAYING THEIR OWN BILLS, SO WE

    CAN START PAYING OURS.

    July 11, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  23. REMEMBER!!!!

    Auntie Coosa, Blairsville, Georgia, USofA
    Sen. Barack H Obama has to take someone with him who can think on his feet
    McWar...........TOOK Lieberman with him .......good so he could tell him where he was ... REMEMBER!!!!

    July 11, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  24. SPR, Chicago, IL

    Truth is, there never was or ever will be an 'Iraq War for Dummies". That is why we are in this mess. Now the Iraqis themselves want us out, but we don't want to leave. Only the US can get away with invading a soveriegn nation and occupying it unconditionally. Now we are even thinking about invading Iran, all because Israel will "draw" us into getting involved!

    It's time we become the peacekeepes and stop being the warmongers in this world. Enough of this half a trillion dollar madness.

    Get out in 16 months. Vote Obama!

    July 11, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  25. dimitri

    BHO is worst than slick bill!!

    July 11, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
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