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. Thanh

    Adding Hagel on the ticket would make it solid. It would serve as an internal check on the executive branch.

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

    They can have Hagel.

    As a Nebraskan, I can attest to him being a huge failure.

    Good Riddance.

    August 12, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. JayW

    To get this country back on course, and to quell the partisanship that is tearing the country apart, I believe the candidates should agree that the loser of the election become the VP for the other candidate. It wouldn't unite the parties by any means, but it might placate enough of us in the center to get this country turned around.

    August 12, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  4. MT, Texas

    The 2008 Democratic Party Dream Team:

    President: Barack Obama

    Vice President: Paris Hilton

    Secretary of State: Britney Spears

    August 12, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. chris

    since john edwards just acknowledged his narcissism and egotistical personality, can we expect the same admission by obama anytime soon?

    August 12, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. Marc, Canada

    It's refreshing to listen to someone that isn't using political speak. Someone that actually has a mind of his/her own.

    August 12, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  7. Tim


    August 12, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. CitizenAJ

    James from Chicago,

    Have you read about the e-mails and memos from Senator Clinton's campaign? Look, she will do fine in supporting the change that Senator Obama will bring to this nation, needed change that everyone KNOWS it needs. Adding her to the ticket does not add or subtract from his candidacy. I know TOO many independents and disenfranchise republicans who said they will vote for Senator Obama IF Senator Clinton IS NOT on the ticket. Senator Obama and his campaign has to consider that.


    I have been on many a blog and I constantly read descriptions of Obama supporters like the following: Obamanuts, Obamabots, Obamazoids, Obamatics, etc. Non-supporters of Senator Obama DO JUST AS MUCH NAME calling. Matter-of-fact, Obama supporters are usually RETALIATING. Yeah, yeah, yeah, two wrongs don't make a right but it feels good!

    I support the selection of Chuck Hagel. It does show bi-partisanship and it brings a dynamic to the ticket that HAS NEVER happened. For you ladies concerned that Senator Hagel is pro-life, remember, he would be JUST THE V.P., not the President. I don't think Senator Obama is changing his mind on his pro-choice stance. We need to look at the appeal of an Obama/Hagel ticket. One thing it shows is that some republicans are tired of the republican menace and are willing to do something about it.

    August 12, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  9. Lily in TX

    What a mistake this would be. Hillary Clinton should be the VP and that will ensure party unity.....otherwise, BO will lose these supporters.

    August 12, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. Nom Deplume

    Works for me, provided Obama quits immediately and lets someone run the country that has more experience, better judgment, and isn't to the left of Che Guevara.

    August 12, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. Douglas Nasrawi

    I have the perfect running mate for Obama. Bill Clinton!

    August 12, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. Tom - Cary, NC

    Et tu, Hagel? Hilary's price was $10 million. What was your bribe?

    August 12, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. AJ

    You must be kidding...

    August 12, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  14. Ken

    I absolutely refuse to ever vote for any Republican, particularly one who does not support reproductive freedom and gay/lesbian civil rights. If Obama makes such a selection he has lost me. I'll stay home on election day for the first time in my life. If McCain then wins, so be it. I'll start right now working on Clinton for 2012. If Obama selects a Republican VP then he cares more about his own personal ambition than the ideals of the Democratic Paarty. I'm sick of this bipartisan hand holding crap.

    August 12, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. Alice in Florida

    I think McCain should choose Hillary – she owes the disgusting Democrats NOTHING!

    August 12, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    chris – I think mccain is the one with 520 loafers, 8 houses, private jet, me me me me me me me personality.

    Can you say elitist?

    August 12, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. Jimmy P - Chicago

    It should be the country first, not Obama. This stooge will do anything to win. Idealogically, you cannot be a Republican and vote for Obama. You cannot even be a left leaning Republican – the chasm is too wide!

    August 12, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  18. Laura

    Sarah: I couldn't agree with you more. I have never been as turned off to a candidate as I am to Obama. If his supporters follow his words of wisdom, then really what wisdom is there is hatred.

    It started long ago with Hillary. Everyone who was voting or even had an opinion on a topic was a racist redneck with no education.

    And you folks want the blue collar vote! Guess again! Reverse racism is just as bad as racism. Sexism is also just as bad but that didn't stop the angry blogs against Hillary now did it.

    I guess most of his followers sat in the same church as Obama, Michelle and even Oprah (for a while). Makes you wonder.

    Laura, Boston

    August 12, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  19. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Chuck would be great, but it's looking like Bayh...

    August 12, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. mike

    Oshama needs someone with experience on the international scene. After all, from his first statement about Russia and Georgia, I thought he was wanting Florida to come to aid of its neighbor because Russia had invaded the state of Georgia. Well he did say there were 57 states and he needed to visit one more to make it all 58 states he had visited. He is welcome to the republicans that have been thrown out of the Republican Party after all, like the tide, they are sinking to their own level. A taxpayer voting for oshama is like a chicken voting for Col. Sanders. Vote Oshama, a jimmy carter second term.

    August 12, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  21. Joseph, Los Angeles

    I like Hagel a lot, but think Obama should pick a Democrat for the second spot. As much as I like Hagel, he is still a Republican.

    By the way, there are a lot of nasty people on these blogs. What's happened to this country? Oh I know, it will never change.

    August 12, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  22. Lesley

    Amen! Republicans voting for Obama. Not sure about Hagel for VP though. Wasn't he a lobbyist in one of his former lives? Better suited for some type of defense department position.

    August 12, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. DR. YES

    wesley clark!

    August 12, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. Peter of Oregon

    It's hillarious to read posts from bitter Hillary supporters saying if Obama doesn't select her as a nominee he'll lose their 18 million votes.

    Well for one... the majority of the 18 million voters, the ones that supported her based on her platform and not solely her gender or the fact she wasn't black are now in the Obama camp, about 72% of them according to recent polls.

    The rest of them, the bitter party anarchist supporters, a.k.a the PUMA children, and others haven't paid a fraction of the cost of retiring Hillary's debt, less than $150,000 last I heard toward a $25 million debt.

    To add insult to injury while Hillary has been campaigning for Obama urging her supporters to back him, it appears a lot of the bitter supporters are ignoring her.

    She showed us she didn't have control over her campaign, she didn't have control over her budget, and she apparantely doesn't have control over her supporters. She's not fit to be anyone's VP this election. Hagel is ready.

    August 12, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. George w. McCain

    Obama/Hagel will make the right wing mess their pants.

    August 12, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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