Skip to comments.Hagel confirms trip to Iraq with Obama
Posted on 07/14/2008 1:15:30 PM PDT by stan_sipple
Sen. Chuck Hagel said Sunday he views his upcoming trip to Iraq and Afghanistan with Sen. Barack Obama as a means of helping build bipartisan consensus in foreign policy.
Nebraskas Republican senator acknowledged for the first time hell be traveling with the Democratic presidential nominee into the war zones by issuing a brief written statement.
U.S. policies in Iraq and Afghanistan are at the center of Americas national security, Hagel said.
These critical issues must be addressed in a bipartisan manner that builds consensus for a bipartisan American foreign policy.
In a joint statement, Hagel and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said they will join Obama in an examination of whether the tactical buildup of U.S. troops has resulted in the progress necessary to resolve Iraqs political differences, provide basic services to the Iraqi people and create long-term stability.
The three-member Senate delegation plans to meet with top U.S. military commanders and civilians and senior Iraqi and Afghan leaders as well as U.S. troops on the ground.
Hagels decision to travel with Obama appears to associate him with the Democratic nominee, at least on Iraq policy.
Hagel, the most outspoken Republican congressional critic of the Bush administrations Iraq war policies, has not endorsed Republican presidential nominee John McCain, a strong supporter of the war.
Obama is proposing a phased withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq.
Details of the upcoming trip are being withheld due to security concerns.
Obama confirmed that Hagel and Reed would join him on the journey during a conversation with reporters Saturday night on a campaign flight from Chicago to San Diego.
Look, they are both experts on foreign policy, Obama said, according to a report filed by New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny.
They reflect, I think, a traditional bipartisan wisdom when it comes to foreign policy.
Neither of them are ideologues, Obama said, but try to get the facts right and make a determination about whats best for U.S. interests. And theyre good guys.
Obama said he wants a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.
That is needed, he said, not only to relieve pressure on our military, but also to deal with the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and to put more pressure on the Iraqi government.
Hagel and McCain, both Vietnam veterans, have been close friends for a long time and operate out of neighboring Senate offices on the second floor of the Russell Building in Washington. In 2000, Hagel was national co-chairman of McCains presidential campaign.
But Hagel has signaled he may choose not to endorse either candidate in this years presidential contest.
Initial reports that he might accompany Obama to Iraq were a topic of conversation among delegates at Saturdays Republican state convention in La Vista.
Have a nice trip, said GOPAC Chairman Michael Steele said when asked about his reaction to Hagels decision during an interview before addressing the convention.
Steele quickly added: Hes making decisions for himself and while I may not agree with him, I respect that.
Republican National Chairman Mike Duncan dodged the issue during an interview.
What do you want me to say? Duncan asked. I always want all Republicans to support our nominee.
McCain will be in Nebraska Wednesday for a fund-raising event at the Strategic Air and Space Museum along Interstate 80 near Ashland.
Reed, a West Point graduate and former Army paratrooper, voted against the Senate resolution authorizing the use of U.S. military force in Iraq.
Obama and Hagel are members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Reed serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
there goes the neighborhood.
How about that ... two liberal dirtbags traveling hand in hand
Chuck and Barry’s big gay vacation. And what do we get? Chuck Barry.
My mistake ... 3 liberal dirtbags traveling hand in hand. kumbaya ...
Blind leading the blind.
Now its O'Hagel.
Why do I feel like I already know their answer to this question?
Where’d Obama get Hegel... rent a Republican??? Guess taking Hegel inoculates him from the obvious.... Obama’s just going through the motions on this stuff... taking Hegel gives Obama SOME credibility I guess.
Ach... der Judas.
One thing is for sure. The safest place in Iraq will be anyplace within a mile of Barry Hussein. No terrorist in the world will want to see this traitor and potential president killed. In fact, al qaeda and the Taliban would be well advised to take about a five month vacation. Novembers results will let them know if the war will continue, or if they can declare victory!
I guess they will be bringing a big box of surrender flags for the meeting to be used if he is elected.
Hagel’s a republican? Maybe that explains the problem. Can’t we start a “run” on the Senate (similar to Chuckie’s financial experience)?
New Obama VP?
Why doesn’t Nebraska try to at least do a show recall on this joker? Purge him from the party or something.
I agree ... not just because of Obama .... but the 2 liberals that keep him company, the hate America first crowd. Giving terrorists across the world a free pass ‘cause “ terrorists are just ‘misunderstood’