July 11th, 2008
06:26 PM ET
10 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. Adam in San Diego

    Dick Cheney is one of the most "experienced" lawmakers in the country today. Look where that has gotten us. It's time for some new blood and a fresh viewpoint. Conventional "wisdom" has brought us to where we are today. So what's wrong with doing something "unconventional?"
    I'm a staunch Democrat who would greatly support Chuck Hagel as a VP. He is well respected and isn't afraid to be critical of policies that clearly don't work.
    New thinking, new strategies, new ideas, fresh perspectives? Be careful everyone if we buy into this, we may just get out of the war, boost our economy, improve our stature in the world and return to being the great beacon on the hill that we once were.

    July 11, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  2. California Voter

    Based on where Obama is positioning himself now all the people that voted for him should have voted for Clinton. Just another politician. And is proved himself to be a man of change - changing his positions!

    It's either Obama/Clinton for me or I will not vote for the democratic ticket!

    July 11, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  3. Man in Oregon


    I am not an Obama supporter, but he does need to go. Obama's current policy statements concerning troop withdrawal are not realistic given currrent regional situation. Trust me the Generals he will be talking to will give him straight information. The General's want to see their mission succeed, but at the same time have a desire to come home. No soldier wants to remain in a combat theater any longer than necessary. To suggest otherwise questions the integrity of our military leadership on the ground.

    Yes, I have been there and done that. OIF2 Veteran

    July 11, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  4. Denise Groves

    He's taking Hagel? Cannot wait to see what he reports to us. He needs to go to Afghanistan. Bush & Co never talk about that war.

    July 11, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  5. Republican Voting for Obama

    Auntie Coosa,

    I wouldn't talk too much about candidates being able to think on their feet after John McCain's disaster of an answer to the question he got about health insurance coverage of birth control and Viagra.

    That was the single most awful and inept answer to a political question I have ever seen.

    McCain is 71 and will be 72 at the end of August.

    Forget paying attention to politics, we need to elect somebody that we can reasonably expect to live out all 4 years of his term.

    Obama '08!

    July 11, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Chris Spring, TX:
    I agree 1000%

    July 11, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  7. DM, Let talk about the truth!!

    I think this have a positive ring to it.. Unite the America both Dem's the the Republican party. Let bring a new way of thinking to the white house. The old way is not working.. This is Change We Can Belive In.

    July 11, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  8. Necie in OKC

    Some folk will never get it. Bi-Partisan dummies....that's the only way we will get anything accomplished when Sen Obama wins this election. He plays well with others so I have not doubt that he will be able to make change happen – getting the buyin from all the party officials. He's proved his good Judgment.

    Obama '08 & whoever he chooses as VP!!

    July 11, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  9. James

    Chuck Hagel is trustworthy and has given us consistently the "straight scoop" on Iraq. He's a great person to take along on a trip to Iraq and will help guard Obama from receiving misleading information from US and Iraqui officials. That doesn't mean he has to be considered for VP. It just means that Barak Obama knows how to use good judgement.


    July 11, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  10. GM

    OBAMA / CLINTON '08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 11, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  11. RJ, CA

    Really doesn't matter who Obama picks. He's a sorry choice for president all around - and the American voter won't go for him no-way, no-how! The American vote is smarter than that!

    July 11, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  12. bev

    I do think that Sen. Reed would be a great VP, Sen. Hagel Defense Secretary, our healthcare program would do great with Sen. Hillary Clinton . and even better Sen. Obama as President.

    July 11, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. Clinton/Clinton '08

    Obama has flip flopped on the Invasion of Privacy Bill protecting the Telecoms. He's going to flip flopping on Iraq, once 'better informed' via this upcoming trip that McCain suggested he take. Now after he and the Democratic D.C Elite have pressured Hillary to suspend her campaign, we are getting a 'glimpse' of a Democratic version of G.W. Bush (OJT), with Obama's lack of experience.

    Hagel, Webb or Reed – Obama's in search of experience he does not have. Recent polls show only a 4% difference, call it voters remorse, between Democrats choosing Obama or Hillary, with 14% now undecided and the exact formula for McCain to win if they flip flopp over to McCain from the Democratic side of the ledger.

    One person with experience that has been described in a negative light by CNN, the pundits and analysts but can be a good thing to ensure those 14% of Democratic VOTERS upset with how the DNC stepped in stole the ending, would be

    A) Hillary unsuspending her campaign at the Convention forcing a floor fight if Obama doesn't have the sense to pick her as his #2 or

    B) The same D.C. Dictators..err..Democrats that ordered Hillary to suspend or be banished $20M in debt because they 'ABANDONED' her in the end...they now turn the table on Obama and order him to select EXPERIENCE 18 MILLION voters have already signed up and apparently are still LOYAL TOO...Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton or

    C) Hillary unsuspends her campaign at the convention and fights Obama for the 150 delegates out of 4,000 he won by and we all go home winners with a candidate who you KNOW has experience and showed her dedication to us, the VOTING PUBLIC by NEVER QUITTING or FLIP FLOPPING on her commnitments to us.

    July 11, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  14. GT

    I think it is good idea to consider Hagel as vp. it will show how obama is different from all this politiation. I really want see obama going to europe, midle east see how tpeople are well come to him.

    July 11, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  15. WORST PERSON!!!!

    Marc PDX ......Quick! Somebody send Barack a copy of "The Iraq War for Dummies" before he goes.......I think your MOM got the LAST copy

    July 11, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  16. Michael Templer

    "Get him a copy of Iraq War for Dummies"

    I'm sure it will be better than the Idiots

    who thought there were WMD's in Iraq

    That we would be greeted as Liberators

    or the insurgency is in it's last throw

    or at least 10 more

    ok the Surge has worked but not because we put 20 or 30 thousand more troops

    or that they though they could get them to read Christian books from Texas not be so Violent

    it has more to do with 100,000 Sunni Militia that we are paying to stop killing us and the other insurgents

    the policy by the Dummies in Washington is how we got there

    so I don't think Barack Obama needs a copy of Iraq War for dummies

    we have all had a front row seat for over 5 years

    July 11, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  17. Craigl Hastings, MN

    'Taint going to happen. The Hillary shills will go berserk.
    Draft Ventura and put a REAL Independent in the White House.

    July 11, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  18. Richard, FL

    If anyone thinks Obama can't think on his feet, take a look at McCain's pathetic response to the viagara question. A REPUBLICAN analyst said he had never seen anything like it in 40 years.

    July 11, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  19. Roger from CA

    Ok, for the last time, Hillary supporters: It is the "Democratic Party", not the "It's Hillary Clinton's Turn Party."

    You are making everyone sick with your crybaby antics and threats about voting for McCain. Just stop it, already! She lost–and, I'm sorry, but it WASN'T because she is a woman. Even Hillary is on board with Obama (except, maybe, her elitist-hating baroness friend).

    If you really supported Hillary and what she stands for, then you are just simply immature at best and psychotic at worst if you vote for McCain over Obama. Your fantasy that she will somehow swoop in and save the day in 2012 is just that: in the meantime, McCain will have cowtowed to the right on at least 2 Supreme Court appointments.... and all the oldest justices are the liberals!

    And, while I'm at it..... To those so-called "progressives" who are hewing and crying over the FISA vote: Give me a break!! Really? You are going to chuck everything over voting for telecom immunity???? You are nuts!

    July 11, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  20. John

    Chuck Hagel would be good in a cabinet position but not as VP. If senate votes come down to ties you want the tie-breaker (the VP) to be a member of your party and vote according to the presidents philosophy.

    July 11, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  21. M.S. Indiana

    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.

    Pleaseeee, you have never been a Democrat..... And what experience do McCain really have ?? Do you even know what he have done.will do, for you or any one else ????

    He flip flops every day on issues.. Pander and scares us about Iran and Iraq... Offers us more free trade with china, as long as it is good for china...

    Maybe McCain will move to Iraq and run the war from there ?? maybe even sign you up for a few tours...

    July 11, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  22. Andrew

    Auntie Coosa: "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."

    Really? Because the last time I checked, CODEL was a bipartisan trip that required at least 1 member from both parties. Try doing some research before you post such non-facts.

    July 11, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  23. Jamie in Texas

    Obama's campaign war chest should have to PAY for this "Official Congressional Trip" no matter who goes! I guarantee he will not, and the whole expensive trip will be charged off to the average American taxpayers. Just another rip-off by the Senator Obama, when most Americans cannot afford to even take a vacation themselves this summer. This family sure cannot with $5 per. gallon gas.......

    July 11, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  24. Brooke

    So now the Obamabots are all for Chuck Hagel? The man, while opposing the Iraq war, is a die hard conservative. I don't think the rank and file of the Democrat party would want him as their VP nominee. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, RFK's daughter, chose an ex Republican as her running mate in 2002 and lost the election due, in part, to that decision. I hope Obama makes the same mistake.

    July 11, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  25. Independant Vet

    Obama can not go 24 hrs, with out FLIP < Floping ,

    NO OBAMA . First he is not a Citizen of the USA. Therefgore he can not be President. Sooner than later it will come out , IN BIG HEAD LINES .

    July 11, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
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