August 13th, 2008
06:15 AM ET
6 years ago

Former McCain ally touted for Obama's VP

,
 Hagel accompanied Obama on a recent trip to Iraq.
Hagel accompanied Obama on a recent trip to Iraq.

(CNN) - Former Republican Rep. Jim Leach endorsed Barack Obama's White House bid Tuesday, and said he hopes the Illinois senator considers a former GOP ally of rival John McCain as his running mate.

Speaking on a conference call with reporters to announce a new effort among Republicans in support of Obama's candidacy, Leach said he thought Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel should join the Democratic ticket.

"There are a number of impressive potential vice presidential candidates and this is a singular decision for one person, and that is Barack Obama," Leach said. "But personally I'd be hopeful in the list of serious candidates to be considered would be Chuck Hagel, whether it be for the veep position or a serious position in an Obama administration."

Listen: Republicans announce support of Obama

Hagel, who has butted heads with his party over the war in Iraq and is not seeking a third Senate term, has said he would consider a VP offer from Obama. But it remains unclear just how much of a consideration Hagel is.

iReport.com: Share your picks for VP

While the Vietnam War veteran would instantly add gravitas and bipartisanship to the ticket, his longstanding opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage would not sit well with the Democratic base.

Speaking on the conference call Tuesday, Leach also said Obama's record will resonate with many Republicans.

"I also have no doubt that a lot of republicans and independents are going to be attracted to his call for a new era of non-ideological, bipartisan decision making," he said. "While there've been a lot of flaws in this year's primary process, it is simply impressive how a candidate's unusual gifts have come forth with a singular commitment to recapture the American dream."

Leach, a Republican moderate who served as a congressman from Iowa's second district for 30 years, was defeated in 2006.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Chuck Hagel
soundoff (190 Responses)
  1. Pick Me! Pick Me!

    Obama is pro-choice.

    McCain is not pro-choice, that is unless it has to do with wives THEN he is...

    August 12, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. biffington, biff

    Sarah,
    you obviously haven't seen the posts from hillary and mccain supporters.

    August 12, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Alex V- NJ

    The best republican that Obama could pick would be Colin Powell but Hagel is another good idea that might just work. Moderates might flock to the idea and while the base might freak out, the base pretty much always freaks out, it's nothing new at this point.

    August 12, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. Ron

    As a supporter of Senator Obama for President, I will trust his judgment on this VP choice. I do think it speaks well if he chooses Senator Hagel as it would usher in a new era of politics. I feel that if he is the choice, Senator Obama is going to have a sit down with him and explain his point of view and why the VP needs to tow the line.

    Clearly W. Bush and Cheney are not aligned on the gay rights issues. Cheney has stepped out several times about rights but been pulled back in by the Republican party (too bad for his daughter).

    More to the point, Senator Hagel's entire voting record and his affiliations throughout this three terms is going to have to be reviewed under a microscope to make sure that the "old Washington" isn't being elected into office.

    August 12, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Lana, DE

    No, he needs to stick with Democrats. A Republican would be too much of a change. Why add something else to the mix. I think he has already made his selection, and we will know soon.

    Obama 08

    August 12, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. ron

    sen.obama as often called for bipartisan decision making but if anybody is paying attention it is only when it is to his benefit. even gen. petraeus's advice was waved aside because it didn't suit his purpose.I'm sure whoever is picked as a VP for obama will be under no illusion that advice from him or her will be welcomed. this is a one man show. he as been gracious only when it is politically expedient

    August 12, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. Ex-mod-GOP for Obama

    Sarah-

    I hope you don't think all of us are hateful and mean. I hope I'm not.

    By the way, Hagel would be a great choice. My money's on Evan Bayh, however.

    August 12, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. Janice Hough

    Hagel would be a fine secretary of state. And I hope Obama asks him to join his cabinet. But he is not pro-choice. That is something I am afraid, few women, including myself, could overlook in a vice-president.

    August 12, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  9. Iowa Woman for Obama

    Leach, I don't care much for you, but I like what you said and agree. So far Obama has walked the walk. I hope he continues to do so.

    August 12, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. California Gold

    Now you know McCain is political poison if fellow Republicans are jumping ship to join Obama.

    I don't blame them either!

    August 12, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. Rufus Leaking

    No. Republicans. Ever.

    August 12, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  12. Matthew, Philadelphia, PA

    I like Hagel as a person, but let's be real. With the exception of the war, he's voted the Republican party line more than McCain has! How can the Obama Democrats paint McCain as McBush or McSame or "four more years" if they pick a running mate who embodies that even more than their opponent?

    Hagel, Kaine, Bayh, Biden...any one of these guys would be a real disaster. Especially because they are all lacking in terms of their support for a woman's right to choose and would seriously turn off women voters, particularly Hillary supporters, already cold to Obama's candidacy.

    Obama can't tell Hillary supporters not to vote for McCain because it would go against everything Hillary believes in and has fought for and then go and pick a running mate who goes against everything Hillary believes in and has fought for!

    August 12, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  13. Chris

    I wanted Chuch Hagel to be Obama's VP for a long time until I reviwed how his Voting Record would upset Obama's Base.... So, after careful consideration and reviwe of Hagel's stance on terrorism & National Security & the War in Iraq, I'd think he'd be a great Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense.... He's smart, reasonable and courageous.... However, the only reason why I'm afraid of Hagel as Obama's VP is because of what some self-righteous, hardcore Liberals might think of it.... But, it'll be good for the Country, because this would be REAL CHANGE.... Just as an early example.....

    Obama/Hagel 08!!!

    August 12, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. Austin Wall

    I've been saying Hagel should be an option for months now. He's a Republican, but a moderate and very intelligent one. I think this country could use a bit less of each party blindly pandering solely to its own base.

    August 12, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  15. McCain:SmallWeakCowardlyMan OffersMoreOfTheSame TearsOthersDownToBuildHimselfUp

    Yes, we could sure use the possibility of a real leader and running mate who don't have to go to Wikipedia to plagiarize their resonse to the Georgian-Russian conflict, right McCain you lazy, out of touch, old warmongering dolt?

    August 12, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. Sebastian

    I'd like to hear from some people from Nebraska ...

    with the courage to use their full names and city of residency and then tell us ... factually ... with numbers, dates or documentation ....

    what they think of Chuck Hagel.

    I don't know the man other than the topical stuff I've read here ..

    Thanks,

    August 12, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  17. ANGIE

    OBAMA/HAGEL HOPING AND PRAYING THATS A DREAM TICKET!!!

    LOVE IT LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!

    August 12, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. biffington, biff

    Wayne..

    so go ahead and vote for McCain, because I am SURE his positions on gay issues are MUCH closer to yours...

    geez...

    August 12, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. Tim

    iT IS FUNNY HOW ALL THE oBAMABOTS ARE CONSTANTLY WRITING ON HERE STUPID THINGS SUCH AS "MCWAR=MCBUSH HE VOTES WITH BUSH 95% OF THE TIME" (AND JUST ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE THEY WRITE) BUT THEY SEEM TO BE FINE WITH A REPUBLICAN WHO VOTES WITH BUSH 97% OF THE TIME AS THEIR VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE......DO YOU GUYS HAVE ANY PRINCIPLES OR NOT?

    August 12, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  20. Peter

    Hagel isnt my favorite choice for vp, but better than Clinton

    August 12, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  21. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Hagel would add alot to the ticket if he were to be chosen. It would be the first time that I am aware of even this level of consideration. Hagel does have his problems for many Democrats. I would hope that they understand. I would be more likely to call Hagel a maverick than McCain who has voted so often with Bush.

    August 12, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Looks like the Texas braintrust is well represented on the Ticker, as usual.

    August 12, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. JD

    TO SARAH...

    IT SEEMS YOU ARE THE ONE WHO IS MEAN SPIRITED....IF YOU READ THE BLOGS TO SEE HOW PEOPLE LIKE YOU ARE CALLING OBAMA AND HIS FAMILY "MONKEYS", KOOL-AID DRINKERS, THAT ALL AA ARE LAZY AND ETC..YOU TOO WOULD BE FIGHTING BACK...

    IT SEEMS THAT PEOPLE JUST DON'T WANT TO VOTE FOR OBAMA JUST BECAUSE HE IS BLACK AND DON'T EVEN WANT TO LISTEN TO HIS POLICIES NO MATTER WHAT.....A LARGE MAJORITY OF WHITE AMERICANS ARE AFRAID TO VOTE FOR A BLACK PRESIDENT NOT EVEN RESEARCHING WHETHER HE IS CAPABLE OF DOING THE JOB OR NOT...JUST BECAUSE OF HIS SKIN COLOR....

    SHAME ON YOU PEOPLE....AS AN AFRICAN AMERICAN I ONLY HAD "WHITE" PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES TO VOTE FOR AND I AM IN MY LATE 50'S....AND THROUGH ALL THOSE ELECTIONS, I NEVER SAW THE HATE MONGERING AND BITTERNESS AS I SEE AGAINST OBAMA.....

    NOW I ASK A QUESTION: IF OBAMA WAS "WHITE" WOULD YOU PEOPLE VOTE FOR HIM? I'M WAITING FOR THE ANSWER....

    August 12, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  24. NG in DC

    And Maybe John McCain should put Hillary Clinton on his ticket and win the election!

    August 12, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  25. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    I could see a Hagel VP or other position of importance. Good man.

    August 12, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
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