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. Steve

    Clinton is a disaster waiting to happen. She lost to a rookie due to poor campaign management and selecting boneheads to run her staff like Wolfson and Penn. Bill is a shadow of his former self. These two are currently being sued for campaign irregularities (Peter Paul v. Clinton) that may very well rise to indictments. Run, Obama, run (without the Clintons).

    August 12, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. Bill in Ct.

    I've been saying Obama and Hagel ticket since the start of the campaign, and I'm praying its Hagel because that would say alot about Obama and how he wants a change in D.C. politics, never been done before, a Dem. and Repub. on the same ticket. GO OBAMA and HAGEL " 08 " and yes I'm an Independent voter OBAMA OBAMA OBAMA VP. HAGEL HAGEL HAGEL 08 08 08 08 shock THE NATION

    August 12, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. jeanette

    Jim Webb for vice president!
    Chuck Hagel will make an excellent cabinet member, but Webb for VP.

    August 12, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. ran

    Hagel would be OK with me.

    August 12, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  5. MARY

    Well, something tells me it's going to be Colen Powell. He was on a talk sow many many months ago and said he would consider changing parties.

    August 12, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. Jill American

    Absolutely NOT ... Hagel is anti-choice!

    August 12, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  7. No

    No no no. Obama, do not choose a Republican as your running mate. This country is far too undeserving of you. Comparisons to JFK, and RFK? McCain hoping that there's an attack soon? There's a lot of evil stirring around. If Obama, God forbid, goes away, that would mean that Mr. Republican VP becomes a Republican President, and we're stuck again with 4 more years of Republican stupidity and mismanagement.

    August 12, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  8. Brian

    thats whats up.. now I can say that first the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country.. to hear folks from all walks of life coming together.. hot diggity American living up to the true promise to include all of its citizens with love, care, and respect... ONLY IN AMERICA!!!

    August 12, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  9. Ron Democrat turned independent

    for every tit there is a tat and for every bad republican there is an equally bad democrat

    August 12, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. Jrzy

    A Republican next in line for the White House? No way!

    August 12, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. Uncle Sam

    There are a lot of Republicans that feel Obama is the better candidate and will cross party lines and vote for him in November. It is the Republican party that is in shambles. With all the issues that the Democrates are going through, why is John McLoser not ahead in the polls? I can't wait for the Democratic butt whipping that is going to be bestowed on John McSame!!!

    Obama 08/12!!!

    August 12, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Hey, where is that mayor from New Jersey? You know, the Democrat turned indie who is the mayore of a city of less than 50,000?

    Oh well, good to know Senator Obama has more Republicans looking to him for leadership.

    August 12, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. susieq2

    I love Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, maybe even State, but not VP.

    August 12, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. Steve From Dallas

    A republican for the Democratic VP... good god, another reason to not trust Obama.

    He cant find a single qualified Democrat to put in the spot.

    Obama has as way less experience than Bush did...

    August 12, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Steve

    Chuck Hagel? The same people who say McCain is the same as Bush ask for Hagel, who diverges with Bush on basically one single issue?

    My vote is up in the air but an Obama/Hagel ticket makes McCain an easy choice

    August 12, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. Bill

    Hagel would be a great choice! Talk about "straigh talk express" that is true and real. We all know that Clinton will not get the nod. Her supporters need to get over that fact and face the real reason she will not get the VP nod - BC! Too much Bill Baggage.....

    August 12, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. Caryl - Connecticut

    Who ever he picks won't matter – unless it's PARIS or BRITTANY !

    August 12, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  18. JWheeler

    No Republican VP, please! What are they thinking???? What if, God forbid, Obama did not survive for a full 8 year presidency? Once again, we'd be in the hands of the Republicans. This would be a disaster for the country. Surly there are plenty of Democrats who would be good VPs.

    August 12, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    I think Bayh or Biden will be the choice, and Hagel will be Sec'y of Defense should Senator Obama prevail.

    August 12, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. ChicagoJosh


    Unlike conservatives, we don't vote on single issues. If you listen to McCain, we only vote on who is the most "dreamy".

    August 12, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. ben

    OBAMA FOR 2008-2016.

    August 12, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. Terry, NJ

    First time I will be voting a Republican for President since I first was able to vote in 1991. I've voted Democrat since then, but will not be fooled like so many into voting for someone who says warm fuzzy things but has no experience and no realistic plans to actually make change happen. I'd vote for Hillary in a heartbeat. Obama supporters just seem to be a bunch of suckers who belief whatever sugar the Koolaid man throws at them!

    NOBAMA! Don't drink the Koolaid! Vote for someone who is better suited to being President, MCCAIN! Or.. Write in Hillary!

    August 12, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. Nom Deplume

    "This country is far too undeserving of you"

    Wow, if anyone has drunk the Messiah Kool-aid it has to be No at 2:40.

    This is why the Obamanuts scare me, and why I am stocking up on the things Obama will try to outlaw once he gets into office.

    August 12, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. Jon from Indiana

    Hmmm, I wonder why all these Iowa/Nebraska congressmen are supporting Obama? It couldn't be because he's in favor of ridiculously huge ethanol subsidies while McCain isn't. On this issue, it's clear which man has more integrity. Obama supports pumping up the price of food for a misadventure into biofuels while McCain sees the injustice and wastefulness in turning food into fuel. Obama can have Hagel, Leach, and any other sellout who wants to trade political clout for third-world starvation.

    August 12, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. Sorry James from Chicago

    For all those Hillary supporters who insist on leveraging Hillary's "18 million votes". Sorry to burst your bubble but the 18 million votes is a myth.

    First off, most of those voters were sensible enough to switch to Obama once Hillary lost. Secondly, if you split up those 18 million votes into the states they came from, you will find that a big chunk of them came from California & NY both of which Obama will carry in the general, Puerto Rico which does NOT vote, and then throw in states likes Texas, Kentucky, West Virginia and South Dakota which Hillary won and Obama is not counting on winning in his path to the WH.

    And that didn't even include the Rush Limbaugh Reps who were voting for Hillary in the primaries as part of the "18 million votes".

    Sorry James

    August 12, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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