Hagel: I’m not a flake

Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times (and formerly of the Daily Nebraskan), recently caught up with Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel to quiz him about his place in the upcoming Presidential field, particularly as an anti-war Republican. (Seeking a G.O.P. Opening on the War – NYT – 7/20/07.)

Hagel said he is “receiving fresh encouragement to consider a presidential candidacy” and that he intends to “study the landscape and disclose his intentions ‘in the next few weeks.'”

On fundraising:

“There is no Republican presidential candidate with this point of view. There might be an opening for me on this,” Mr. Hagel said. “I’ve had three very significant Republican fundraisers come to me this week, all of whom said I should look at running.”

He declined to name the fundraisers, only saying: “They are three Bush people, not committed to any candidate yet. You would recognize two of the names, clearly.” With a smile, he added, “Of course I’d need more than three.”

On his Non-announcement Announcement in May:

“I think people have enough regard for me to know that I’m not a flake, that I’m a serious leader,” Mr. Hagel said. “Whether you agree with me or not – or whether you think I’d have a chance or not, that’s a different thing. But I don’t think anyone would doubt my sincerity to do a good job and do it right.”

On running for Prez:

“It’s not a no. I have not said no,” Mr. Hagel said, standing on the grounds of the Capitol, where one day earlier war protestors had stood vigil. “I don’t want to make a decision in the flurry of all this, the intensity of all this. Next month when we get a little break, I’ve got to sort it out. I’ve got to make a decision and I will.”

With more Republicans in the Senate breaking ranks with the White House on Iraq, this would seem to be the start of the opening Hagel was hoping for. It still would seem radically unlikely that he could win either in the GOP primary or something with a Bloomberg on an an Independent ticket. No one knows what Hagel really hopes to get out of Presidential run — short of winning.

In any case, it’s pretty obvious that Hagel would much rather talk with the Tim Russerts of the world about Iraq, than with a farmer from Ord about soybean prices. If he can find a good enough reason to run for Prez, that may give him the out of having to bother with AG Jon Bruning on a trek across the state.

An answer in “a few weeks” or “next month” puts him on track with our Countdown Clock, above to the right.
Many (pols) are waiting with baited breath…

10 comments

  1. OmaSteak says:

    Unemployed Republican fundraisers aside, they only public “encouragement” for Hagel to run for anything seems to be coming from Arianna Huffington. The anti-victory hardcore left is Hagel’s only support given his daily prayers that the current “take-hold-build” strategy in Iraq fails…although it’s obvious that should have been the military strategy from the outset. SS has it right, Hagel might as well announce a presidential run since he has zero chance of making it out of senate Republican primary.

  2. Eric says:

    No Republican candidate with which point of view? Being anti-war? Has he not heard of Ron Paul?

    By the way, I’ve always been puzzled about this supposed “countdown clock” in the upper right hand corner of the page. So I found a PC today and cranked open Internet Explorer, and sure enough, there it is.

  3. Street Sweeper says:

    The Hagel Countdown Clock doesn’t work on Apples, huh? I’ve had problems seeing it when using Firefox as well, but I don’t think I have all the right plug-ins.
    For anyone else that can’t see it, it’s a running countdown to Labor Day. Feel free to consult your local calendar, then join in the fun!
    -SS

  4. Potsie Webber says:

    I’m sorry but the NEW YORK TIMES does not speak for this Republican!!!

    The day Give-Up Chuck Hagel starts getting positive editorials in places like National Review, World Net Daily, Human Events, or on any of the 3 major radio talk shows is the day I will consider him to be a legitimate GOP threat. So, until that day happens (which will probably be around the same day Ben Nelson and Pete Ricketts travel to Massachusetts to enter into a domestic partnership) a Chuck Hagel presidential bid is DOA.

  5. One Out In the Third says:

    Hagel stated he was not a “flake.” Who said he was a “flake?” Very odd statement. Of local interest…KGFW radio in Kearney is running a very unscientific poll…rating Adrian Smith…Ben Nelson and Hagel…tomorrow Dave Heineman is the featured subject.

    Adrian Smith garnered an 87 percent approval rating…Ben Nelson around 70 percent and “Snowflake Hagel …oops…Hagel is only mustering a 15 percent approval rating. Again…very unscientific.

    Mr prediction is Heineman will come in under Nelson.

  6. One Out In The Third says:

    Followup…

    Seems Ben’s favorable rating on KGFW last week is in a tailspin this morning since the news of “Earmark-Gate” has hit the dusty roads of Nebraska. Might be the last of his high poll ratings.

    Fox News has the big guns out in Omaha today seeing what they can dig up on Ben and his son’s company. Some are saying we didn’t listen close enough to Pete Ricketts. Local pundits are also saying this doesn’t bode well for Turkey Rancher Ben and that this pig will follow him around for quite some time.

    Side Notes…

    …My prediction was way off…seems almost every one loves Gov. Dave…he has a 85 percent approval rating (2 points below Adrian Smith) in todays KGFW unscientific poll.

    …Nelson’s people caught wind of last Friday’s KGFW poll and called them wanting specifics yesterday. Do you think they caught wind of it here?

  7. steve j. says:

    One Out In The Third:

    Drop your hate for Gov. Dave. He creamed T.O. in a cakewalk. Hagel was the first to get on the Gov’s bandwagon. So what? It’s time to move on.

    I swear, these Heineman haters have all the logic and intelligence of the anti-Bill-Callahan forces who still wear Ohio University paraphernalia with “Solich” emblazened on it. Move on. Wake up. Smell the coffee. Recognize what’s best for your state!

    -Steve J.

  8. One Out In The Third says:

    Steve…

    I was ok when you called me a “Heineman Hater”…it rolled off like water on a ducks back. I did however take great offense when you compared me to a drooling myopic Husker Neanderthal.

    Actually I have corresponded with the Governor on issues affecting Nebraskans and have been polite in my contacts…and he has also responded politely and I think informatively.

    I just don’t think he is the leader most make him out to be and I don’t believe he is sincere about reducing taxes…managing state agencies…etc…etc. He is a great politician and cheerleader…but I don’t hate him.

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