Chuck Hagel on Principles & Values
Republican Sr Senator (NE)
A: Well, I have 16 months left on this term. First, I had said even before I was elected in 1996 that 12 years was probably enough. I think it is. There are other ways to make the world better
Q: One of those ways would be to run for president of the United States. Are you ruling that out right now? I just want to be precise on that.
Q: Well, I’ll sign a certification or anything that you want me to sign. I don’t see any circumstance where I would be a candidate for any office next year, including the presidential office.
Q: Because there’s been a lot of speculation, along with Mike Bloomberg. Is that any basis in fact?
A: Well, I have never, along with Mayor Bloomberg, as far as I know, come to any conclusions or worked our way towards that kind of outcome or applied any focus on that. I don’t really see that happening.
A: I don’t know. You know the difficulty of a third-party candidacy, but one of the things that Mike Bloomberg would bring--and I’m not here to promote Bloomberg, but you brought him up--is you have to have financing, and you must have resources. There’s probably $100 million that you would need. I would hope that as we work our way through next year & into 2012 that some alternatives could emerge in the presidential race, and I think that’s where we are tracking here politically in this country. The fact is, when you look at these poll numbers and the disconnect with our country with those of us in Washington, what the people of America are saying, they’ve lost confidence in our leadership, they’ve lost confidence and trust in what we’re doing that we cannot build a consensus to go forward & really resolve the great problems and issues of our time.
A: I’ll make that decision in the next couple of months. If there might be a place for me along the presidential road somewhere, then I’ll look at that.
Q: Were you to run, would you run as a Republican or as an independent?
A: I have no intention of changing parties. And that doesn’t mean that I don’t think an independent does not have some renewed possibilities next year to be president.
Q: Are you ruling out running as an independent?
A: For right now I am, and what the world looks like next year, I don’t know. But I have no plans to change parties or run for president as an independent.
Q: But you’re leaving both of those options open.
A: You try to keep as many options open for yourself as you can.
A: Two things. One, I do think some of us who hold real jobs now have some responsibility to focus on those jobs. I think this presidential race got started absurdly too early. It’s a sad, sad commentary on our system when the focus is on who can raise the most money, not who is best qualified, who has the best solutions for the future of our country. I wasn’t going to put myself in that situation early on. I think someone should be paying attention to Iraq, should be paying attention to entitlements, to immigration reform, some of the things that we should be focused on. Now, I understand the political realities. I can’t change those. But what I do control in this business, I’ll keep that control.
Hagel made the suggestion after sharing a meal with Bloomberg durin the mayor’s most recent visit to Washington. “It’s a great country to think about--a New York boy and a Nebraska boy to be teamed up, leading this nation,” he said.
Bloomberg has said repeatedly he will not enter the presidential race. Nevertheless, Bloomberg has fueled speculation about his ambitions with a schedule that has frequently taken him outside NY. He has also relaunched a Web site, www.mikebloomberg.com, to keep backers abreast of his governmental and philanthropic work, Bloomberg says.
In a later paragraph, these words were underlined and boldfaced: "We need to return our culture to the values that have made America great." The values listed were personal responsibility, hard work, self-discipline, honesty, and respect for others, part of Hagel's Nebraska legacy and a nice fit with his conservative political philosophy.
Hagel didn’t set out to sandbag McCain when he first offered [his own CFR proposal in1999 as a compromise]. Unlike McCain, he had an independent streak and hadn’t been especially popular with the Senate Republican leaders; they believed he spoke his mind a bit too much in party conferences.
Hagel saw up close what happened to McCain when he ran against the party structure. If Hagel was to run for national office in the future, he’d have to find a different way. More than one close observer of Hagel--people who like him--began to see his pursuit of his own campaign finance proposal as one that would help him “get well” with the establishment of the Republican Party.
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