Lincoln, NE (Rotters) – Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel today ended speculation as to his plans for 2008 with the announcement at local ABC affiliate KLNK, that he indeed intended to challenge presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in a constantly expanding Democratic field. Hagel, who famously claimed that he would leave the Senate by 2008 in his 1996 election bid, stated that he felt he had a different choice to offer American voters.
Hagel presented himself as a war veteran, initially voting in support of the war in Iraq who now regrets and apologizes for his actions. Hagel has been an outspoken critic of Bush administration policies since 2005 when he compared the Iraq war to Vietnam.
When asked to comment over what will likely be a very controversial party switch, Hagel stated that he was bracing himself for a “hailstorm” of criticism, and had this to say: “Dark clouds still hang over the Republican Party. I still believe in smaller government, accountability, national security, support for our troops, and family values, but the truth be told, the Democrats appear to have a better and stronger command of these issues. I’d like nothing better than to remain a Republican candidate, but I haven’t been married enough times to be competitive.”
Hagel stated that his candidacy was merely in its exploratory committee phase, and much depended upon fund raising with the purchase price of a successful presidential bid for 2008 approaching over $300 million according to most political analysts. The Hagel campaign stated that it would explore a number of options to increase Hollywood tie-ins, including the possibility of a bipartisan ticket with former Tennessee Republican Senator and actor Fred Thompson as a vice presidential running mate.