Hagel: Bush Administration Is "Incompetent" and He Would Consider Joining a Dem Ticket
By Mark Memmott and Jill Lawrence
Thursday 29 November 2007
"This is one of the most arrogant, incompetent administrations I've ever seen personally or ever read about," the always blunt and frequently quotable Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said yesterday during an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
"This administration in my opinion has been as unprepared as any administration I'm aware of," Hagel added, "not only the ones that I have been somehow connected to and that's been every administration - either I've been in Washington or worked within an administration or Congress or some way dealing with them since the first Nixon administration. I would rate this one the lowest in capacity, in capability, in policy, in consensus - almost every area, I would give it the lowest grade. ...
"And you know, I think of this administration, what they could have done after 9/11, what was within their grasp. Every poll in the world showed 90% of the world for us. Iran had some of the first spontaneous demonstrations on the streets of Tehran supporting America. They squandered a tremendous amount of opportunity."
Hagel, who toyed with the idea of running for president himself, also said:
He would be open to the idea of either working in a Democratic administration or even running as the vice presidential nominee on a Democratic ticket - though, he conceded, "I probably won't have to worry about it" because he's unlikely to be asked.
"If there was an area that I thought I could make a difference and influence policy, leadership, outcome ... then I would entertain" those possibilities, Hagel said.
He called Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "capable." As for the speculation that he and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg might form an independent ticket, Hagel joked that "Bloomberg's got the money. I think it'd be Bloomberg-Hagel" ticket.
The council has posted a transcript of Hagel's remarks here.
Hagel has already announced he won't seek re-election to his Senate seat next year.