WASHINGTON – The media,now focusing on the general election,have taken to naming likely vice presidential candidates and frequently include a surprising choice on Sen. Barack Obama's list.
Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel found his way onto that list after repeatedly clashing with the Bush administration and fellow Republicans over the Iraq War,the No Child Left Behind law and the prescription-drug plan under Medicare.
Hagel,who is not running for re-election,spoke to a crowd of about 150 at the libertarian-minded Cato Institute Thursday to promote his book,”America: Our Next Chapter.” He said he isn't saying yes to the presumptive Democratic nominee,”but it would have to be considered.”
The book,released in March,outlines the challenges this country faces and how to confront them.
“With all our problems,with all our challenges,and we have a lot of them … there isn't a problem out there we can't fix. There's not a challenge out there we can't meet,” Hagel said.
Cato President Edward Crane brought up the possibility of an Obama/Hagel match up while introducing the second-term senator and was the one who later prodded him to answer if he would go along with it.
“It would make me a lot more interested in Obama than I am right now,” Crane said.
Hagel,a friend of Sen. John McCain's,has met with both candidates recently,he said,and said either will take the country in the right direction after “four years of drift” by operating through consensus and bipartisanship.
He seemed to send a jab President Bush's way during the discussion when he mentioned he was a fan of former President Eisenhower.
“Eisenhower used to think,” Hagel said,emphasizing the end. “I know that's foreign.”