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CAMPAIGN '08: RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

Sen. Hagel won't endorse McCain

The Republican says he'd consider a post in an Obama Cabinet.

June 28, 2008|From Bloomberg News

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) declined to endorse his party's likely presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, and said he would consider serving in a Cabinet under Democrat Barack Obama.

But Hagel, who last year considered a White House run as an independent, said he would remain a registered Republican, at least for now.

"I don't have any plans to endorse any candidate," Hagel, 61, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital With Al Hunt," to be broadcast today.

Hagel broke with his party over the war in Iraq, which he called a "catastrophic mistake." He voted with Democrats to withdraw troops and against President Bush's troop buildup in Iraq last year.

Hagel criticized McCain for saying that Obama, the Democrats' likely presidential nominee, misunderstands the war in Iraq and was wrong to oppose the troop buildup. Hagel called McCain's criticism a "superfluous, gratuitous political comment."

Because Hagel has been a critic of the Bush administration, his name often surfaces as a potential high-level appointee among Democrats as well as Republicans. He said he would have a duty to consider a request to serve from any president, including as Obama's secretary of Defense.

Hagel has policy differences with both candidates, but said his disagreement with Obama is "probably is not as big" as his differences with McCain.

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