|U.S. Senator from Nebraska|
From: January 7, 1997 – January 3, 2009
|Predecessor||J. James Exon|
Charles Timothy "Chuck" Hagel, born October 4, 1946 (age 71), was the senior United States Senator from Nebraska. A member of the Republican Party, he was first elected in 1996 and was reelected in 2002. In September 2007, Hagel announced he would retire at the end of his term in early 2009 and said he would not seek a rumored bid for the White House.
Hagel is a Vietnam War veteran, having served in the U.S. Army infantry, attaining the rank of Sergeant (E-5) from 1967-1968. Hagel served along with his brother Tom Hagel as an infantry squad leader with the U.S. Army's 9th Infantry Division. While serving in Vietnam, he received the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge. After returning from Vietnam, Hagel worked as a bartender and radio newscaster while finishing college.
Chuck Hagel is known for being a liberal Republican. In December 2005, Hagel made a much-publicized statement: "I took an oath of office to the Constitution, I didn't take an oath of office to my party or my president." According to a SurveyUSA poll, Hagel has a 10% higher approval rating among Nebraska Democrats than Republicans. Together with Democrats Joseph Biden and Carl Levin he proposed a non-binding resolution to the Democratic-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which rejected President Bush's policy as "not in the national interest" in a 12-9 vote. On domestic issues Hagel is known to have a more conservative record. He votes pro-life, supports 2nd amendment rights and has a "Taxpayer's Friend" voting record. On Illegal Immigration he is more liberal and supports an amnesty guest worker program and even voted to allow illegal aliens to participate in Social Security. He is also more liberal on national security issues, which gave him the media's stamp of approval because he would always vocally attack his party and his president. Another issue he is liberal on is his advocacy of earmarks.
Possible 2008 presidential candidacy
Hagel had been mentioned as a possible candidate for the 2008 presidential election. Hagel has talked about entering the possibility of an independent run with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "It's a great country to think about -- a New York boy and a Nebraska boy to be teamed up leading this nation," Hagel said on CBS's Face the Nation.
2002 Nebraska United States Senatorial Election
- Chuck Hagel (R) (inc.),83%
- Charlie A. Matulka (D), 15%
1996 Nebraska United States Senatorial Election
- Chuck Hagel (R), 56%
- Ben Nelson (D), 42%
- CBS News, September 8, 2007, "Sources: Hagel Won't Seek Re-Election"
- New York Times, September 8, 2007, "Hagel to Retire at End of Term, Aides Say"