March 24th, 2008
06:10 AM ET
14 years ago

Hagel not ready to back McCain for president

(CNN) - Senator Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska, said on Sunday that he isn’t ready to endorse his good friend and Republican presidential nominee John McCain, citing major disagreements over the Iraq war.

“I’ve obviously got some differences with John on the Iraq war, that’s no secret,” Hagel told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" Sunday. “Certainly doesn’t put me in Obama or Clinton’s camp, but John and I have some pretty fundamental disagreements on the future of foreign policy.”

Hagel, who has been the one of Republican party’s most outspoken critic of the Iraq war, said he’s not sure what McCain meant when the Arizona senator said on the campaign trail that the United States would stay in Iraq for 100 years if necessary.

“I think we've got to look at the reality that we have before us, and we're in a mess right now… The fact is, all of our senior members of this Cabinet have said that we're not going to sign long-term commitments to defend Iraq,” said Hagel.

The senator from Nebraska had briefly contemplated his own White House run last year, but said recently he is now planning to leave politics. "I don't intend to be in the government next year. I don't anticipate it, and I don't look forward to it," said Hagel.

–CNN's Peter Lanier

Filed under: Chuck Hagel • John McCain
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. karen charlottesville, va

    Chuck Hagel is the voice of reason. I'd love so see a third party with Hagel and Obama as running mates. They're both thoughtful and intelligent and challenge us to view the world through a broader lens. On second thought, what was I thinking? It's obvious that we Americans prefer the cheap soundbite and the slimy mudslinging of American politics. Perhaps individuals like Hagel and Obama are too good for American politics, since we clearly love the dirty politics of the Bushes and the Billarys. We'll get exactly what we deserve.

    March 24, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  2. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Who asked him to back John McCain? More importantly, who cares? Like with both candidates, we're not voting for the surrogates or endorsers, but rather the candidates themselves. I'm sure Senators Clinton, Obama, and McCain want you voting for them instead of Oprah, Bill Richardson, Ed Rendell, or Sylvester Stallone.

    March 24, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  3. Barbara McCall

    I look forward to reading Senator Hagel's newest book. If we are to have an honest debate about Iraq, we need his voice!

    March 24, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  4. jp/michigan

    Chuck Hagel is the ONLY person that voted against the war and backed up that vote, it was not Barak Obama. His voice against the war was and still is a political ploy!

    March 24, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  5. Uncle Sam

    It seems that everyone can find a reason to criticize John McCain. I thought we were looking for someonewho didn't just tell us what we wanted to hear, was able to cross party lines, placed loyalty to country over party when necessary, did not pander to liberals or conservatives, and had the courage of his convictions. You know, an actual leader. Americans for McCain!

    March 24, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I should have added that Hegel really deserves the title of "Maverick" rather than McCain since many people seem to think that he would continue on many of the policies of George W. Bush. Hegel has fought on more things and many important issues with the Republican party than McCain has.

    March 24, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  7. kelly WI

    good go away

    March 24, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  8. Anthony Watkins West Palm Beach, FL

    if we had more republicans like hagel, we would need democrats less. maybe obama can pick him as a running mate, that would be a great team!!!!

    March 24, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  9. Michael

    Who cares what Hagel thinks or does?

    March 24, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  10. Walt, Belton,TX

    Senator Hagel's backing and recommendations aren't of sufficient importance to effect anything. He gives credibility to the word "insignificance."

    March 24, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  11. Ron, Las Vegas

    Obama / Hagel ticket would be a real winner.

    March 24, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  12. bill

    I wish Hagel would run as an independent. The current candidates remind me of Moe, Larry and Curly.

    March 24, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  13. ben

    Senator Chuck Hagel.
    You are a republican. I am a republican. I am most grateful to find another republican who actually shares my views.!!!!!!!!!!

    March 24, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. Joe

    Of course Hagel is reluctant to support one hundred years of war in Iraq. McCain is a continuation of the AXIS of Idiots of Bush, Chenney and Rumsfeld. McCain is Al Queadas dream candidate. He will waste our financial resources and wear our military down in Iraq while Bin Laden watches from his mountain home on the Afghan. Pakistan Border. Vote O8ama

    March 24, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. karen

    Finally, a decent GOP official.

    March 24, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |