1) Chuck Hagel stated today that he is raising money “for his Senate campaign”, and that he’ll transfer that money to a Presidential campaign whenever he wants.
2) Hagel is taking part in a forum this week made up exclusively of Presidential candidates.
3) Hagel has a new commercial, on his brand spanking new website (www.Hagel.tv or www.Hagel08.com) with the tag line “Senator Chuck Hagel – An American Leader” that is “Paid For By the Hagel For Senate Committee” – oh and did we mention that he has no opponent for that Senate race that’s a year and a half away?
So while the announcement at U.N.O. on Monday was that he’ll make up his mind in the fall, this is really no different than McCain or Rudy making a pre – announcement – announcement. He may be exploring an exploratory committee – but so what? There’s really no difference between thinking about one and starting one.
The only problem was that the forum he used and the message he gave on Monday was extremely poorly executed. He confused many supporters and outright angered much of the press who made a big deal to cover it when he gave the impression that he was going to say something worthwhile.
What he said at the “announcement” could have realistically been covered in a short press-release. If he was hoping that he’d get a little national bump by being coy, he was wrong. It was barely covered by the national press, and frankly former Senator Fred Thompson’s hint that he may run caused much more interest on Monday.
But make no mistake: Hagel’s Presidential exploratory work has begun.
It’s just too bad he just didn’t go ahead and announce it.