August 13th, 2008
06:15 AM ET
10 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. 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. MMN-Milwaukee WI

    Open letter to Hillary Clinton:
    Clinton's loss is not derived from specific decisions she made but rather from the prevalence of the many she did not make. Her hesitancy and habit of avoiding hard choices exacted a price that eventually sank her chances at the presidency and the mess in her campaign is great evidence and the choices of people like Mark Penn to run the show also suggests lack of judgment and she’s trying to do the same on Obama. For starters, Hillary should stop the whisper campaigns to have her name on the roll call at the convention. We are not fools and we can see through this one for her to claim that the voices of her supporters needs to be heard and respected is nothing but a ploy…...We also still remember Hillary saying “it’s not over until we have a nominee at the convention”. From the sound of it, Hillary still wants the nomination and if she doesn’t get it, screw the DEMs just give her “a final entitlement hurrah” at the convention and she has no regard of where America is headed. In short majority of us will call that egotism.

    August 12, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. not an obamabot, thank GOD

    it would be a great choice, considering hagel own stock in the voting machines that everyone will be using. Id pick across party lines too.

    August 12, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. Josh Adam

    I have an outstanding idea! Why don't the two candidates each pick a running mate from their own party and run from their base? If I have to choose in the voting booth between Obama running with a Republican VP and McCann running with a Democrat VP, I would exercise my freedom to not vote for either of these tofu wonders. We need leadership from either party, and we need it now!

    August 12, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. Dear James

    Dear James from Chicago,

    Not everyone is sucked into the Clinton machine like you are. This is our one chance to get away from the Washington politics, and Clinton's don't belong anywhere near it.

    He's not giving the veep slot to Hellary, and he'll still win. I'm hoping he gives her no position, especially not health care since she has tunnel vision (my plan only) on that issue.

    She's bad news...just like her husband. Their clout and money don't rule everything. Some of us still have minds and values...and influence even!

    August 12, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    GOP for Obama's VP ? Only if McBush takes whiny Hillary for his VP....

    Given the state of Bush's world, CIA, etc... Obama would do well NOT to have a GOP VP....

    August 12, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  6. DocReal

    It won't be Hagel. Funny thing is that this choice probably won't matter. McCain is already fading because of his temper and his creeping senility. It's interesting that most of the GOP won't be attending the convention because of the impending Republican ballot box bloodbath and the fact that it is in the midwest. Kind of sad seeing McCain end his career with a landslide defeat, but that's the price of selling out your independence for a shot at the top job.

    August 12, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. Mike

    1. Hagel has never endorsed Obama, nor has he endorsed McCain.
    2. This would be a terrible choice as it would really turn away all the Hillary supporters

    ...this is just proof of how stupid Democrats are. Hagel sides with them on one issue and they think that he's one of them...please.

    August 12, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |

    For people who love Obama. Tell me what Obama did good to make him to be PRESIDENT OF USA.? He was south Chicago activist, 14 month senator. Come on people. SO, looks like anybody can be PRESIDENT. If not HRC- BE McCain

    August 12, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. DR. YES

    we welcome all patriotic republicans to our movement for change in how our government's good to know that not all republicans are willing to tolerate another 4 years of self-destruction.we should be doing like russia has been doing the lsat 17 years.reorganizing our government to handle the problems of the 21st century.mccain will have us in another cold war ,that i dont believe americans or russians ,either one, want.

    August 12, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. Mr. Kasaba

    Come November Barack Obama will have my vote. For obvious reasons, his VP and third in command, in my opinion should be people who don't aspire to be president and all should be of minority descent. I want to see Barack in office until his FULL 8 years are done!

    August 12, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. james

    Obama's supporters are NOT mean and hateful by in large. They are hopeful that there's going to be some change on this very wrong path our country has taken. It's been a road of ruin for our constitution, and soon will take a turn back towards what our country was founded on. It's about the constitution and values we were founded on. We weren't founded on fear, we were founded on hope of a better life. With OBama, that's where we're headed. You can say I'm dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

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

    "... it is simply impressive how a candidate's unusual gifts have come forth with a singular commitment to recapture the American dream."

    To date, Republican policies have destroyed the American dream as a consequence of reducing the cost of labor for business and increasing profits. Everyone that wants to revive the American dream should vote for Obama and against Republicans in Congress so he can get it done.

    August 12, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  13. A Latte Lover, Seattle, WA

    Works for me! My top choices are Biden or Clarke. To be sure though, after reading the article and memos in the Atlantic about the Clinton campaign, you can put me firmly in the column of ABC, anybody but Clinton for VP. I can't stand the sight of her anymore. Instead of taking the blame for the loss as they should, they are blaming everyone else, even Edwards, and are still trying to undermine Obama. The convention should be interesting....

    Obama/Biden or Clarke, 08 Anyone but Clinton

    August 12, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  14. Marie in California

    Obama will stop at nothing to get elected. More glitter.....more empty rhetoric.....more sensationalism.....more fodder for the news media that functions as his free advertising agency anyhow.

    Hillary would have been great....but.....NOBAMA!

    August 12, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. dkroll

    yes, and there are even stupid republicans too! These guys that support Obama aren't real Republicans. They have no values.

    August 12, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. anonymous

    Glad to see the Republicans are getting in the democratic pockets just to see what is really going on. Ouchhhhhhhhhh more spys for the republicans. Way to go republicans.

    August 12, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. Kevin

    Clearly these people cannot be true Republicans if they back Obama in any shape or form. They should try reading his non-competetive policies or has he changed his mind again since yesterday.

    August 12, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  18. ben

    I am so tired of hearing about Hillary's18000000 votes.!!! Half of those votes came from republican women who would rather see a woman in office than any man regardless of party. They were not going to vote for a democrat if she did not win the nomination. Suits me let them vote for McCain, they were going to anyway.

    August 12, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. JC

    I always get a laugh when people talk about Obama and bipartisanship. Hasn't he voted along party lines like 95% of the time while a Senator? Or do facts and his record not matter? Is someone going wave a fairy wand to instantly make him bipartisan and not a liberal?

    August 12, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |

    I agree with Sarah, Obama people are mean. I will be so happy the day Obama loses!!! If we want partisan than I agree with the McCain/Clinton team this makes more sense and they would be unstoppable.

    Obama is a fraud and I hope people see through him soon! He is NOT what our country needs.

    Country before Party!!!!!!!!!

    McCain/Hillary 08

    August 12, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  21. Jim Schimmer

    This will be America's best chioce ever.

    Obama/Hagel!! so cool!!!

    I really wish this were to become true!!!!

    August 12, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  22. chris

    if obama chooses Hagel, it would at least keep him consistent with his behavior: i am pro-choice, but i have chosen a VP who is not; i was against off-shore drlling before i was for it; i am for change, but i will maintain the status quo on a few of the bush policies; i don't take money from drug companies, but i take it from their ceo's; i was against nafta, but i'm also for it; i pledged to take troops out in 16 months, but i might not;

    August 12, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. Ryan

    The abortion issue is just a hot button issue that Republicans have pushed in the past to split the electorate. The VP doesnt really have much ability to affect Roe v. Wade so whether he is pro-life or pro-choice should be irrelevant, only the Supreme Court can impact Abortion rights. I think Hagel would be an outstanding pick. One thing that clicked for Obama when he decided to run was bi-partisanship. This would go a long way to show he is very serious about changing Washington Politics.

    August 12, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  24. Peter of Oregon

    Hagel would make an excellent VP for Obama. I'd support it wholeheartedly.

    August 12, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |


    August 12, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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