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. Will, NJ

    Hagel would be a good VP, I'll be the first to admit the government is suffocating under it's own weight and a moderate conservative would be part of the solution.

    August 12, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. The Truth

    Why doesn't CNN have enough "balls" to talk about this?

    How about McCain's affair? Yes, In April 1979, John McCain met and began a relationship with Cindy Lou Hensley, an Arizona special education teacher and Hensley & Co. heiress. Because his wife suffered a disfiguring accident he left her. He did not divorce Carol until February 1980 and married Cindy shortly after. Ross Perot would later say, " After he came home, he walked with a limp, she [Carol McCain] walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona [Cindy McCain, his current wife] and the rest is history." No wonder he has no comment on John Edwards!

    August 12, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Jasmine in Germany

    This is about the most intelligent thing I've heard from Republicans in a long time. P. S.: re: Russia and Georgia collection of statements – Obama was the diplomatic leader, McCain jumped the gun. A leader must initially keep "personal opinion" to himself until more information unfolds.

    August 12, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. DavidSTX

    LOL!! A great way to solidify the Republican base. Put Hagel on Obama's ticket. Go ahead. The only thing better would be putting Edwards on the ticket.

    Go Obama / Edwards 08. Yeah baby.

    August 12, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. Tam in Colo

    McCain wants to win the war in Iraq. That can never happen no matter how long we stay there. Winning means meeting all of your objectives. There are no WMD's, one of the reasons for going over there in the first place. An objective that can be met!!!! Bring our troops home Washington and tap the oil resources in this country....

    If Obama picks anyone, republican or democrat, other than Ms. Clinton, he doesn't have much of a chance............................

    August 12, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. LaShanda

    No Rethugs for VP! Hagel could be in the cabinet, but not a heartbeat away from the presidency. The VP will either be Hillary(this would unfortunately drive independents to McCain and get Republicans to hold their nose and vote for McCain), Joe Biden, or Wesley Clark.

    August 12, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. Liz from Atlanta, GA

    Dear Allan USA,

    I think W pretty much proved that anyone CAN become president.
    Do you remember when he bragged that he only had a "C" average in college? At least Obama is very well educated, intellegent and can think outside the box to solve problems. Do you think McCain can? Any if Hillary could she would have already figured out a way to pay off her debt. . . . think about it. . .

    Obama '08

    August 12, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |

    Are all you Obamabots so eager to see GWB out of office you're willing to put a dictator in? I know people are concerned about the economy and the way the war is going but come your eye's and quit drinking the Kool-Aid. Obama will destroy what is left of the country and what future your kids might have.

    August 12, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. Andy

    Yeah thats the ticket. Pick a spy I mean Republican for the Dem VP.

    August 12, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I love Chuck Hagel and he would make a great V.P. He is strong and independently spoken and will do the right thing for our country.

    August 12, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. Kshama

    Another political ploy by Obama. Gosh, he seems so full of himself. What, Obama, a politician? Oh my God! Here I thought he was the messiah. The Democrat chosen to save this country from ourselves. Superman to the rescue!!! What a joke, Obama is becoming.
    Have you ever heard of a Presidential nominee "texting" his VP choice. For such an important position, he wants to text the answer? Where is Ryan Seacrest, Paula, Simon, and Randy, when you need them! Are we in the real world here? What an insult to his VP choice. Same tactic as trying to change the "Presidential" seal recently?

    August 12, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Mike, TX,

    you are beginning to get on my nerves. last time I checked slavery was over. Sen. Obama does not have a master. This is 2008, you nut job

    August 12, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Nalini


    August 12, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. A FACT

    If Hillary is not on the VP ticket it's Bye- Bye Obama. He doesn't stand a chance with or without Hagel. Besides, we cannot afford another corrupt Republican anywhere near the White House.

    August 12, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. Pat Long Island

    As a gay american, I will not vote for Obama if he picks homophobe Hagel as his VP will mean Obama is typical Democrat who throws the gay community under the bus for political gain. I will simply not cast a ballot for president.

    No GOP as Obama's VP!

    August 12, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. Turning the page

    I love Chuck Hagel for his principled beliefs. I'd want to see him get a serious cabinet position. But I don't believe in bi-partisan tickets. A President needs a VP with whom they share the same philosophy of governing. You want someone who will carry on your agenda once you leave office. That's choosing VP's 101.

    It was a big mistake for John Kerry to even consider John McCain in 2004. Barack Obama likes reaching out accross party lines but he's too smart to make that move.

    August 12, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. Nalini


    August 12, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. fixbone

    to all you obama haters – look inside yourself and understand your non-intellectual biases then ask why do you hate this country so much and why would you not want us to improve ourselves – on nearly every political issue – foreign ploicy, energy, education, jobs, economy – he has address nearly every major issue (other than immigration) with an intelligent positive looking to the future approach

    August 12, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  19. Penny

    I just saw a picture of a young boy running with his belongings on his head in Georgia and you people are here arguing over nonsense. Wake up America, if you screw this up because of your ignorance, hate and bias then that little Georgian boy will be an American boy running from missile attacks. It’s time we all start thinking because missiles and bullets does not know the difference between Democrats, Republican or Independence.

    August 12, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  20. deroy

    hagel is a democrat. besides whhat are senators doing running for nationwide office.

    don't believe it. look up JFK's real record.
    he was rolled. escalated vietnam and did nothing for civil rights. that's why MLK led the march on washington.

    August 12, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  21. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Great idea. Obama needs someone to tell him what to do and provide adult supervision. Better Hagel than some other ultra liberal.

    August 12, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  22. Informed Voter

    Hagel is on my Short list .... about 6th ....

    But I'm a person who doesn't base my vote on VPs . .don't see why people make a big deal of VPs .......

    i would welcome Hagel as VP ... but many other Liberals would be turned off ....

    Anyways my bet is on Kaine, Sebelius, Biden, Bayh or Clark

    August 12, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  23. Phil Newton Murphy, Oregon

    He reaches across the aisle.


    Obama 08

    August 12, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  24. Independent-Latina-for-OBAMA

    Brilliant idea........ Sen. Chuck Hagel! Now that would be a HUGE CHANGE, from the divisive politics of the past!

    August 12, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  25. Joan

    Hagel had the strength and the guts to speak out about the Iraq war from the start. Hagel supports the troops in real terms, and has a no nonsense approach America needs. Its timeto act in the best interests of common Americans, and take care of our troops by bringing them home. How do you find honor in a war built on lies?

    August 12, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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