As you all know, Hagel had a press conference earlier today. He was expected to make an announcement regarding his decision about 2008; however, he decided that he was going to hold off on announcing for now. This came as a shock to many, but he is keeping his options open, and has launched his official website: www.hagel08.com. Check it out!
Here's Hagel's speech from earlier today:
"America stands at an historic crossroads in its history. It is against this backdrop that I find myself at my own crossroads on my political future. Burdened by two wars, faced with dangerous new threats and global uncertainty, beset by serious long-term domestic problems and divided by raw political partisanship—America now reaches for a national consensus of purpose. America’s response to the challenges and opportunities that confront us today will define our future. Finding solutions to these challenges and capitalizing on these opportunities will not wait until the next election.
I have worked hard over the last ten years on foreign policy and national security issues, climate change and energy, education, entitlement reform, especially Social Security reform, health care, veterans benefits, GSE reform, and immigration reform. This year will be an important year for these critical issues– and I intend to offer new initiatives on each of them. I want to give these and other subjects my full attention over the next few months. I believe it is in the interests of my Nebraska constituents and this country that I continue to work full time on these challenges.
America is facing its most divisive and difficult issue since Vietnam—the war in Iraq, an issue that I have been deeply involved in. I want to keep my focus on helping find a responsible way out of this tragedy, and not divert my energy, efforts and judgment with competing political considerations.
I am here today to announce that my family and I will make a decision on my political future later this year.
In making this announcement, I believe there will still be political options open to me at a later date. But that will depend on the people of Nebraska and this country. I cannot control that and I do not worry about it. I will continue to participate in events across this country, raising money for my Political Action Committee to assist Republican candidates, and raising funds for a Senate re-election campaign.
In conclusion, I would first like to commend my colleagues who are currently seeking their Party’s presidential nomination. I admire each of them for their willingness to put themselves on the line and pursue their strong beliefs and ideals.
I believe the political currents in America are more unpredictable today than at any time in modern history. We are experiencing a political re-orientation, a redefining and moving toward a new political center of gravity. This movement is bigger than both parties. The need to solve problems and meet challenges is overtaking the ideological debates of the last three decades—as it should. America is demanding honest, competent and accountable governance.
A global political readjustment is also in play today...and will respond to America’s leadership. What is at stake for the future of America is larger than just American politics. Politics is simply the mechanism democracies use to affect responsible change. The world is not static, it is dynamic.
At the beginning of my remarks I said that America is reaching for a national consensus of purpose. We will find it because Americans expect it and will demand it. I do not believe America’s greatness is lost to the 20th Century. There are chapters of America’s greatness yet to be written. I intend to continue being part of America’s story."
A video of the speech is available at: www.pagingpower.blogspot.com.
Here's an article from Huntington News:
EDITORIAL: Hagel Will Make 2008 an Adventure
U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) has led what some would call an adventuresome life: helping to fight the Vietnam War, some serious success as a businessman and entrepreneur, and one of the most respected, independent political voices at the nation's capitol.
He could cash in his chips right now and leave a hero. Or perhaps opt for a significant appointment in the next administration like Colin Powell chose to do, perhaps to his regret.
But increasingly, Senator Hagel sounds like a Republican Presidential candidate, and when one surveys the field of likely candidates in parties, no one else has the blend of experience, the understanding of war, and the pulse of the American people like Senator Hagel does.
Hagel was the first Republican to question whether the Iraq War was heading in the right track. He courageously asked questions nobody else would ask -- in either party -- of this administration's key foreign policy decision. Having seen war up close, Hagel is neither afraid to prosecute a just war, nor is he patient with bland excuses for warfare that seems to be listless and meaningful only in the number of casualties.
The man who is both comfortable with power but responsible and judicious in its use is who American needs now. Like George Washington, who always returned his power back to the people who gave it to him, Senator Hagel appears to have the integrity to be trusted with power in next year's election and beyond.
We hope he runs--for the sake of our country and the world. Those who have the audacity to question Senator Hagel for merely raising the most obvious of questions about a failed strategy need to get a serious reality check--and to check out the continued drumbeat of the public opinion polls.
Hagel is a man whose time has come -- because he's one of us. He understands the price of war and how to prosecute a necessary military conflict effectively. How?
Because he does his homework and casts a wide net for advice.