McCain has Lieberman…and Obama has Hagel.
While it is standard practice for such tripsâ€”known as CODELS, or congressional delegationsâ€”to be bipartisan, in this highly charged election year it is likely to raise eyebrows that the retiring Nebraskan senatorâ€”a prominent Iraq War criticâ€”is the Republican expected to join the Democratic Partyâ€™s presidential nominee on what is sure to be a closely watched visit to the region.
Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Sen. Hagel has not yet endorsed a candidate in the race, and he has offered kind words for both Obama and Republican rival Sen. John McCain, although the two Republicans differ greatly on the war.
Hagelâ€™s name has also been mentioned in the chatter over Obamaâ€™s running mateâ€”he told the Associated Press in June that he would consider a vice presidential invitation, although he conceded such an offer is unlikely. Hagel has also been discussed as a speculative candidate for a Cabinet post if Obama is elected in November.
I certainly have my doubts that Hagel would be Obama’s running mate, but I’m sure Obama’s folks will have their eye on Chuck during this trip.
Still it’s a longshot.