November 29th, 2007
05:03 PM ET
11 years ago

Hagel criticizes 'arrogant' Bush White House

Sen. Hagel did not mince words with his assessment of the Bush administration Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Chuck Hagel, a leading Republican lawmaker who has come out against the Iraq war, had some harsh words for the Bush White House Wednesday, calling it "one of the most arrogant" administrations he's ever seen.

"I would rate this one the lowest in capacity, in capability, in policy, in consensus - almost every area, I would give it the lowest grade," Hagel said during an event at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Hagel supported the 2002 congressional resolution that authorized the invasion of Iraq the following year, but earlier this year he called Bush's plan to send thousands of additional U.S. troops to Iraq "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam."

The two-term Nebraska senator flirted with a presidential bid last spring, but ultimately announced in September he has no plans to seek the White House and intends to leave the Senate when his term ends in 2009.

Speaking Wednesday, Hagel said the administration "squandered" opportunities following the attacks on 9/11.

"I think of this administration, what they could have done after 9/11, what was within their grasp," he said. "Every poll in the world showed 90 percent of the world for us. Iran had some of the first spontaneous demonstrations on the streets of Tehran supporting America."

"There's where they have failed the country," Hagel continued. "They've squandered the time and the opportunity that they had, and the next president is going to take four years to not only dig out from under that."

Despite Hagel’s insistence he has no plans to run for president, speculation persists that he and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg may pair up for a third-party Independent bid. The two even reportedly had dinner Wednesday night.

"Bloomberg's got the money - I think it'd be Bloomberg-Hagel," the senator joked when asked about the speculation.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Chuck Hagel
soundoff (132 Responses)

    Perhaps the now, very frank Senator Hagel would care to comment on the Diebold scandal in Ohio during the presidential election of 2004?!

    Hagel is the former CEO of ESS, the parent company of Diebold.

    Well, Senator?!

    Posted By Brendan H., San Antonio, TX : November 29, 2007 4:12 pm

    what is that???! lets bring up something that has NOTHING to do with the issue. do you think hes lying about his opinion of the bush administration? diebold were voting machines that were reported as vulnerable and hackable!! i dont see how that discredits this man in any way. but nice try!!!!!!!!

    November 30, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. james kirkpatrick

    Jack C. , Hagel is exactly right about the Bush administration.

    November 30, 2007 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  3. wklwekwl efec jjj

    Good for Sen Hagel. At least 1 republican has the guts to confront those clowns in the White House. Sen. Hagel is right on because those morons have made the U. S. a joke around the world. And no wonder, since their leader happens to be the village idiot from Crawford Texas. Bravo, Sen!

    November 30, 2007 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  4. Andy, Evansville, IN

    history repeats:

    Someone needs to get a life? Your posting are all over this site and input at all hours. Perhaps it is symptomatic of the political climate today...we all need to chill out. Charge and countercharge are not constructive...meaningful dialogue is. One thing that appears to be painfully obvious is the need to get over the Bush/Clinton long as the two families hold the high office, we'll never get over this self-destructive attitude.

    December 1, 2007 10:31 am at 10:31 am |

    Andy, Evansville, IN

    why dont you take another look at my posts ive posted about 8 or 9 times and i just started like a week ago!!! nice try on that though!! people like me havent created the political climate the people that slander john kerry when he saved peoples lives in vietnam or make AL GORE look like a wimp when both of them could have actually done good for this country over the last two terms, they created this. they took this country away from whats right and wrong and got us involved in issues like religion instead of politics of gay marriage instead of economy or clintons marriage instead of foreign policy and education or health care! thats who did this......

    December 1, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |

    Andy, Evansville, IN

    and tell me something else how can you group clinton and bush together? bush's decisions have resulted in thousands of US deaths, clinton had an affair.....cliton was actually a good president bush was a is what it is

    December 1, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. Paula and Vince, Santa Monica, CA

    History repats said
    "and tell me something else how can you group clinton and bush together? bush's decisions have resulted in thousands of US deaths, clinton had an affair…..cliton was actually a good president bush was a disaster……it is what it is"

    Posted By HISTORY REPEATS : December 1, 2007 11:01 am

    History dearest, read some history, Clintons diddling distracted him from the country's business. The blood bath in Iraq is totally and absolutley his fault. Both Clintons have blood on their hands. I urge you to get out of the CNN / MSNBC / government school rut and seek the truth and not what they are spoon feeding you.

    December 1, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
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