Monday, March 12, 2007

Hagel going to focus on the Senate for the time being

Senator Hagel DID NOT announce that he's running for President today. He said that he wants to focus on the important issues that confront the nation today without being distracted by a campaign.

However, he did keep open the option of running for President by entering the race later in the year.

Here is the text of his statement:

"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."


Anonymous said...

This announcement was a real letdown. I am disappointed in Hagel. He is the only Republican (other than Ron Paul) that I would vote for. Conservatives need Hagel to run. The Republican Party needs Hagel to run. America needs Hagel to run. I am disheartened by this NON-announcement.

Anonymous said...

Hagel will never be president or even get the Republican nomination.
He is like McCain, unsupportive of his party and his President and instead of trying to work inside the party to change he runs for the TV cameras.

Scipio said...

So Senator Hagel gets to wait and hope that the surge fails. Nice. Anti-war, anti-troop back stabbers like him won’t get the Republican nomination and if he runs as an Independent, I doubt he’ll hurt the Republican party. He may have just lost some of his media love with that stunt. Never call a press conference when a news release will do. Republicans will never elect him to anything again and he knows it, which is probably why he’ll run for President in 2008 no matter what. Nebraska isn’t going to send him back to parasite city so he’ll act like a petulant child and run just to spite Republicans. He won’t get far though because he’s so transparent people are just gonna walk on by him. However he will be the only candidate with Presidential hair.

Jen in Charlotte, NC said...

I agree with the first anonymous comment posted here - I rushed back to my desk after an early staff meeting to set up a stream and hear the announcement live. While I'll continue to follow Hagel's moves, talk to folks and show support where I can, and I did enjoy some of his comments in the questions portion of the conference, I must admit that I too am disheartened by this non-announcement.

Anonymous said...

The "announcement" was kinda like breaking up with your girlfriend over an expensive dinner rather than over the phone. Either way, she's gonna be upset. No one who supports Hagel's positions or admires his courage was happy with today's news (or non-news).

That being said, Hagel has not closed the door on a run. In my opinion, I don't think getting in now was of any advantage. He always said he'd be in it to win it. Right now, his chances of gaining the Republican nomination are slim to none given he is wrong on the top three issues: Loyalty, loyalty and loyalty.

That could change in six months. Even if it doesn't, an independent campaign out of the gate would have much greater credibility than one born out of being rejected by your own party. And, one year from now, if the choice is Guiliani or Clinton, a Hagel candidacy could shoot to the top in the polls overnight. Add Bill Richardson to the ticket and the White House more than within reach.

Ryan in Omaha said...

I have always liked and supported his stand on politics. Say it like it is. But this press conference was an embarrassment to the Republicans. Why didn't he just release a statement to the media? He talked about how the people have lost trust in the government and then he pulls this stunt? I am very disappointed.

Anonymous said...

This news conference was so friggin' nonsensical that one has to think it was "go" or "no go" on Friday. Something had to happen over the weekend that resulted delaying that decision for several more months.

Anonymous said...

Fred Thompson happened over the weekend.

Hagel is going to take a wait and see with Thompson. If Thompson gets in, he gets Hagel's endorsement. If Thompson takes a pass, Hagel heads to Des Moines.

Interestingly, if Thompson gets in and loses, especially to Guiliani, Hagel could still mount an independent anti-war conservative insurgency.

Charlie said...

Thompson's thinking about getting in wouldn't be an issue of large concern to Senator Hagel, in my opinion. If he is in, he's in because he thinks he has a shot at getting the nomination. If he thinks he can take on McCain and Rudy, Thompson is not a major concern.

Anonymous said...

Why does Thompson's potential entry matter? Unless I am mistaken, Thompson is not opposed to the Iraq War.