Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) said it would be unlikely for a Republican candidate to win the 2008 presidential election at a discussion Wednesday night at the Elliott School of International Affairs.
Either Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) or Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) can win the general election in November, he said.
“McCain has inherited a great deal of political baggage…from President Bush and Vice President Cheney,” said Hagel, who has spoken out against the current Republican administration in the past.
Hagel said the first thing on the new president’s agenda next January should be to develop a consensus on Iraq, which must include partnering with Congress.
The Republican senator said there is “no higher need” than reintroducing America in the international arena to foster allies in foreign countries.
“(There will be) no peace, stability, or security until all nations are involved in that,” Hagel said.
Hagel presented three potential candidates for the next secretary of state, including Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.). When asked about his own aspirations for the position, Hagel responded, “Any American who cares about their country -“
“That’s a yes,” interjected moderator Frank Sesno.
Addressing foreign aid, Hagel stressed the importance of advanced planning and specifically directing funds rather than just spending egregious amounts of money.
Additionally, Hagel said the U.S. would never defeat terrorism without having a “seamless network of intelligence gathering and sharing.”
He was hopeful about the future of America’s youth, although he cautioned that this generation could be doomed to failure since they don’t have the tools to apply their interests.
“We are living in one of the most uncertain, unpredictable times,” Hagel said.
The Republican senator responded to several questions from the audience about legislation he introduced with Obama aimed to prevent suicide among active duty military members. He identified longer troop deployments requiring multiple tours as being primarily responsible for the significant spike.
Kara Peters, a senior in the Elliott School, said Hagel brought an interesting Republican perspective.
“He was very forthright and honest,” Peters said. “I appreciated his perspectives, especially from a Republican senator.”