Foreign Policy Drove Wedge Between Hagel, McCain

Fellow GOP senators and Vietnam vets 'fundamentally disagree' on key issues

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 28, 2008 7:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – Though Chuck Hagel and John McCain have plenty in common as Republican senators and Vietnam veterans, the Nebraskan says foreign policy is why he’s not on board. “In good conscience, I could not enthusiastically—honestly—go out and endorse him,” Hagel tells the New Yorker, “when we so fundamentally disagree on the future course of our foreign policy and our role in the world.”

In essence, Hagel’s foreign policy is aligned with Barack Obama’s, and the press often mentions him as a potential Cabinet member under the Democrat. But Hagel remains, despite it all, good friends with McCain. “That’s the problem with Washington, quite frankly,” he says. “If you disagree with somebody, you should dislike them, too.”

From left, Jack Reed, Barack Obama, conservation architect May Shaer and Chuck Hagel tour the citadel in Amman, Jordan, Tuesday, July 22, 2008.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Chuck Hagel speaks on the floor of the US Senate in Washington, Oct. 2, 2008, taking a few jabs as he bid farewell.   (AP Photo)
This file photo from Sept. 10, 2007 shows Chuck Hagel in Omaha, Neb. Hagel said Sarah Palin, lacks foreign policy experience and called it a "stretch" to say she's qualified to be president.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Barack Obama, David Petraeus, center, and Chuck Hagel ride inside a helicopter in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, July 21, 2008.   (AP Photo)
Chuck Hagel delivers remarks to the Brookings Institution, June 26, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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I was called a ‘traitor.’ How could I not support the troops? ‘Shut your mouth, you’re a Republican!’ Which I always found astounding—to equate war based on your politics, as a Democrat or a Republican. - Chuck Hagel

That’s the problem with Washington, quite frankly—if you disagree with somebody, you should dislike them, too. - Chuck Hagel, explaining his still-close relationship with McCain

I said, ‘John, if you don’t engage Iran, where do you think this is going to go? We’re going to be in another war!’ - Chuck Hagel

There is no question that this candidate is arguably the thinnest-résumé candidate for Vice-President in the history of America. - Chuck Hagel on Sarah Palin

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