July 27th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Hagel says judgment more important than experience

Jack Reed, left, and Chuck Hagel, right, joined Barack Obama in the Middle East.
Jack Reed, left, and Chuck Hagel, right, joined Barack Obama in the Middle East.

(CNN) - Two former military men who traveled to war zones with Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois) say the presumptive Democratic nominee is qualified to be commander in chief, despite his lack of military experience.

Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) and Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) spoke to media this morning in Washington after appearing on CBS’ "Face the Nation." The two accompanied Obama to the Middle East last week.

“Each candidate has strengths and weaknesses, and experience does matter,” Hagel said. “But what matters more in my opinion is character and judgment. And judgment meaning who is it that you bring around, who is it that you listen to? Can you make the right decisions for the right reasons on behalf of your country and the world?”

Both Hagel and Reed spent years in the military. Reed attended West Point and retired as an Army captain, and Hagel earned two Purple Hearts fighting in the Vietnam War. Reed recounted the experience of traveling to military posts with Obama.

“There was something that was really dynamic,” he said. “We were trying to leave the headquarters of the 101st and we couldn't get down to the car because soldiers were flocking out of their duty positions to get autographs, to say hello, to take a picture, and it was just genuine, spontaneous and very, very enthusiastic throughout the entire trip.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) has repeatedly questioned Obama’s stance on the war in Iraq, particularly his opposition to the surge of troops instituted over the past year. The presumptive Republican nominee addressed the topic again in a radio address yesterday.

“Even in retrospect, he would choose the path of retreat and failure for America over the path of success and victory,” said McCain. “That's not exactly my idea of the judgment we seek in a commander-in-chief.”

Reed and Hagel also addressed a new ad from the McCain campaign. The ad’s script says that Obama “made time to go to the gym, but cancelled a visit with wounded troops.” It continues, “Seems the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras.” Both Hagel and Reed said the ad is inappropriate.

“It is factually distorted, and it is I hope not a sign of things to come, because there are two many important problems to engage at this point in baseless insinuations about patriotism and about American men and women in uniform,” said Reed.

Hagel, a Republican, has not endorsed either candidate, and he said Americans are fortunate to have a choice between McCain and Obama.

“These are both smart men, they're capable men, they're decent men, and they love their country,” he said.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. MikeH

    The Republicans have had 10+ years to saturate media, polling organizations and voting equipment manufacturers with their secret, and not-so-secret operatives (e.g. Diebold, Wall Street Journal,). Polls at this point are being corrupted by these operative in every way untraceable to suppress or distort presentation of opinion contrary to their intent.

    Obama has a mostly terrific international tour (I think the Berlin speech was too much of a circus), while McCain stumbles repeatedly, is caught lying about the surge, and has his essay rejected by a newspaper that endorses his candidacy. Yet the polls show nothing.

    Ignore Opinion Polls for now, and MAKE SURE voting machines are not set up to delete valid Democratic votes and manufacture false Republican votes, as happened in Florida in 2000.

    July 27, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. Corinna

    Experience is good judgement is besser.

    July 27, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. Griff

    They were just being Diplomatic, Mr Obama...

    July 27, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  4. GERRY

    THANK YOU SENATOR HAGEL. MOST PEOPLE IN THE U.S .KNOW THAT BUT ARE AFRAID TO ADMIT IT.. THEY REMAIN IN DENIEL.
    HOW SAD. HOW SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 27, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  5. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    I agree with Hagel that Judgment is important. Obama has poor judgment and no experience

    He is risky for sure. you never know what he will say or do to get elected then he will fine tooth comb that position,. I say risky.

    He is the flip flopper of the Democratic party.

    I just don't trust him. He says he was against the War in Iraq. So what was his rationale? All the congress voted to go to war and all the intelligence services of this country and foreign countries said Iraq had WMD and Saddam, said he had them. But obama the new messiah said no. What a clairvoyant figure he is. Maybe he will give us some stock market tips.

    July 27, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  6. Hans-Erik Iken, The Netherlands

    Would be a real stunt if Obama got Hagel to be his VP.

    I think Hagel would be happy to serve in an Obama administration.

    July 27, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. War Monger!!!

    Even in retrospect, he would choose the path of retreat and failure for America over the path of success and victory,” said McCain. “That's not exactly my idea of the judgment we seek in a commander-in-chief
    McWar you are an old War Mongering IDOIT!!!

    July 27, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. Bradley In Colorado

    At least for this election cycle, I'll take judgment over experience any day.

    Obama '08

    July 27, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. AVEMBE The sun

    Somebody explain me why is experience could be that important when you see that 600 000 000 000 dollars have been spent and people are facing foreclosure ...What is EXACTLY the surge for????

    July 27, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  10. bk

    Hagel is wrong. Look what happened when we got Bush and he was inexperienced in foreign affairs. He messed everything up and so will Obama. We can't afford another inexperienced president. The country is in too much trouble.

    July 27, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  11. Bradley In Colorado

    Right on, Sen. Hagel!

    Obama/Hagel '08

    July 27, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Bradley In Colorado

    I wonder how McCain's gonna cry about this...

    "Wah! Vote for me cause I have experience! I don't know anything except war! Vote for me, the experience man!"

    July 27, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. Steven

    Great Job Obama, The 200,000 in Berlin showed up because they wanted to. No Apology needed.
    The Haters Are So Jealous.

    July 27, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. Badger

    Hagel for VP! A moderate with military experience.

    July 27, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. kim hussein smith

    "But what matters more in my opinion is character and judgment. And judgment meaning who is it that you bring around, who is it that you listen to? Can you make the right decisions for the right reasons on behalf of your country and the world?”

    FINALLY, a public figure speaking out on this; hagel is 100% CORRECT!! experience means ZILCH if you abuse your political position for personal gain, and that's exactly what this white house has done. they have made billions by USING this country as a cash register! it's time to stop them; they're robbing us blind and you mccain supporters are STILL standing their holding open the drawer for them. mccain = keating 5, in the pockets of lobbyists and big business, same ol same ol thievery!

    July 27, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. Bradley In Colorado

    Reed and Hagel also addressed a new ad from the McCain campaign. The ad’s script says that Obama “made time to go to the gym, but cancelled a visit with wounded troops.” It continues, “Seems the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras.” Both Hagel and Reed said the ad is inappropriate.
    --------------------------------
    I agree with Hagel and Reed. How low can the McCain camp go? Apparently to Hades and back...

    July 27, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. Brian

    I would LOVE to see an Obama-Hagel ticket... I am sick and tired of partisan politics.

    July 27, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. Tim in Syracuse

    Well....he may be right. Look at what all of the 'experienced' folks in Washington have done for us.

    Its time to turn to people who have exercised good judgment instead of clinging to the good old boy system.

    July 27, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. Stephen

    be careful what you wish for McCain,it's the lesson you should take from insisting Obama take this overseas trip.so stop whinning and start talking issues........you earn respect,you do not demand it,Obama is earning he's...stop demanding for it....

    July 27, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  20. Arkansas Undertaker

    I agree with the two Senators. Amen!!

    July 27, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  21. Proud American

    Remember folks this is a fellow Republican and a very long close friend of McCain stating this. He is backing Obama and it speaks volume... loud and clear.

    July 27, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  22. Time for progress.

    True, look at Bush, Cheney, Rove and Rumsfeld's resumes compared to their judgment.

    July 27, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  23. Bill From Florida

    This man would say anything to make sure the next President is
    Democrat, even lie to the people as Bush did.

    Shame on you Hagel.

    July 27, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  24. Listen Up...

    Just go ahead and say it Hagel...Obama 08!

    July 27, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  25. President McCain

    I have both.

    July 27, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13