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)
  1. L. Layton, UT

    Osama bin Laden, the person responsible for the horrendous attacks on this country is still alive and living free. Thank goodness Hagel has the courage to speak out against a very incompetent administration. His quotes are right on the money and it's time intelligent and good people take our country back.

    November 29, 2007 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. Sinead Loyd, Canyon Country, CA

    It seems that Senator Hagel has more balls than any of the Democrats, who have sadly disappointed this voter. Go Senator Hagel!

    Sinead Loyd

    November 29, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. EB Rideout, Georgia

    No there's something you don't see every day – a Republican that isn't up to his neck in the KoolAid tank.

    Thanks, Chuck.

    November 29, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  4. Angel, Los Angeles of Anaheim

    Hey Jake from Austin, maybe you need to get together with the guy who keeps posting as being from THE REPUBLIC of TEXAS. You deserve each other.

    November 29, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  5. Dan Seattle, WA

    Senator Hagel is spot on. And, I'm a Republican. A Bloomberg/Hagel ticket would have my vote in a heartbeat.

    Those of you that can't see the costly missteps and mistakes Bush has made truly are blind.

    November 29, 2007 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  6. John Lee Dugger Jacksonville, Florida

    After last night's debate, I ask myself, "Where is Chuck when we need him now?"

    November 29, 2007 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. Tim, Austin,Tx

    The only reason CNN covers this loser is because he fits their slant, I love the fact that President Bush went to the Middle East, called Radical Islam out into the yard and kicked their butts up and down the street. So you're a Jihadist who wants to die for Islam? Here's your chance, jump a bus to Iraq and tell it to the Marines. You leftys are just worried that we are winning and soon you'll be seen for what you are... wrong (as usual).

    November 29, 2007 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. Jim Roseman, Etna, CA

    It's time for the good senator to register as a democrat. Good grief!

    November 29, 2007 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  9. scott,manchester NH

    [Hagel] absolutely one of THE most well worded summaries of the past 8 years, aside from Trump's statement about Bush being the worst prez in history (i'm no fan of trump,but he's right on the money there)...
    the really scary part is that there actually people still out there who throw together the wildest,downright stupid and crazy rationales in support of that freakin lunatic.
    and HEY, with all of the hot air on that ridiculous GOP CNN/YouTube debate, never a question of just HOW it is that we ENDED UP in iraq?...was it about 9/11-OBL?..about wmd? about removing saddam, and freeing the people? about installing a democracy in a mega religious Muslim country- a minor challenge (duuhhh)...whats the reason this month?
    wouldnt ya just love to see THAT question....answered by those GOP clowns?

    November 29, 2007 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  10. karen nj

    Hagel is a rino, so this isn't shocking news.

    November 29, 2007 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. Sylvia Hicks, San Diego, CA


    November 29, 2007 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  12. Paula and Vince, Santa Monica, CA

    Looks like CNN is fully engaged in the campaign now. What don't they start a 12 week run of specials highlighting and investigating the sexual assaults of Bill Clinton and Hillary's role in intimidating the victims ?

    November 29, 2007 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  13. Craig, Seattle, WA

    Well what would you expect?.. HAGEL IS RIGHT!

    November 29, 2007 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  14. hksesqcpa, New York, New York

    Would be an unbeatable ticket if it is instead Hagel-Bloomberg. Watching the pathetic performances of the panderers yesterday made me long for a Hagel – a gutsy straight talker, someone who has all the right stuff to take this country back to the greatness it once was, pre-Bush. Hopefully, some event will happen to get the Senator in the race – we should all hope and pray that it does.

    November 29, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  15. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    Prior to President Clinton I was a lifelong Republican.

    I didn't leave the Republican Party, it left me. When the neo-conservatives (read NAZI's) took over the Republican Party I became a born-again Democrat.

    Senator Hagel is the ONLY Republican that I would consider voting for; it is too bad he's retiring.

    He is a true patriot.

    November 29, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  16. Aaron Kinney, Sherman Oaks CA

    Oh my God a Republican with a brain!

    Who knew?

    November 29, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  17. Gordon Asheville, NC

    I am from Nebraska and embarrassed by Chuck Hagel's remarks. I am delighted he is leaving the Senate and also not running for President. With Republican supporters like Chuckie, the President does not need enemies.

    November 29, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  18. Catherine - Galveston, Texas

    I appreciate and agree totally with what Sen. Hagel had to say. BTW, George W. Bush doesn't deserve my respect. The Office of the President does. It analogous to "support our troops." I do. But that doesn't mean I support Bush's War (I don't).

    November 29, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  19. Tom

    I greatly admire Chuck Hagel for being the lone Republican with enough integrity, honor and patriotism to stand up and call the Bush administration what it actually is – the most arrogant, corrupt, incompetent and treasonous group of tools who've ever inhabited the White House.

    November 29, 2007 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  20. Jim in Orlando, FL

    I'm a life-long Republican, who voted for all the Bushes. I also do not respect Chuch Hagel very much based on many things other than his comments here. But there is a touch of truth in all that he says about the Dubya White House, and its poor management of many things.

    November 29, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  21. Fremont, CA

    He should be tried for treason!

    November 29, 2007 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  22. Esther st. louis

    If one more greedy stupid arrogant needy lying self serving politican adds his insults toward Bush I'm going to up-Chuck!

    November 29, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  23. Bob, Seattle

    Is Senator Hagel taking democratic money along with Bloomberg to enter the race so as to divide the Republican vote to insure a democratic win? Very interesting.

    November 29, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  24. Oscar A.,

    Well, there you have it - the evidence is overwhelming. The only people now left to convince are the whacko fundies who still believe Bush is some kind of divine gift from the heavens who gets direction from the Man himself.

    November 29, 2007 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  25. Bob, Roxboro, NC

    I'll probably get censored again,,I usually do.
    ( I wonder why these guys censor my posts.)

    Thanks Mr Hagel,

    In my mind's eye I see Thomas Jefferson and the writers of the Constitution. As they ponder the complexities of forming a nation they must have been thinking to themselves: Well,, we've beaten the English and we're no longer burdened by dictatorial system of living. Now,, how can we forge a nation and replace the King with an elected body who will run roughshod over the people? Not a system of government which is responsive to the needs and wants of the people who work to support it and die to defend it,,but rather, a government which taxes property,, and when that property is devalued,, will pretend it escalated in value and tax it accordingly.

    Yeah,, that's what the framers meant!!

    November 29, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
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