Charles Timothy " Chuck" Hagel (born October 4, 1946) is the senior United States Senate from Nebraska. A member of the Republican Party (United States), he was first elected in 1996 and was reelected in 2002. He is often characterized as a political maverick and moderate, similar to fellow Vietnam War veteran Republican Senator John McCain.
Early life and family
Born in North Platte, Nebraska to German-American parents, he graduated from the Brown Institute for Radio and Television in 1966 and from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1971. Hagel is a Vietnam Veteran, having served in the U.S. Army infantry, attaining the rank of Sergeant (E-5) from 1967-68. While serving during the Vietnam War, he received the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
Hagel married Lilibet Ziller in 1985; the couple have a daughter, Allyn, and a son, Ziller.
Hagel is the former CEO of the USO and of American Information Systems Inc. (AIS), which changed its name to Election Systems & Software (ES&S) in 1997. Voting machines made by AIS have been the focus of intense scrutiny since the 2000 Presidential Election due to their susceptibility to voter fraud and tampering http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/11717105/robert_f_kennedy_jr__will_the_next_election_be_hacked/print.
In 1996, Chuck Hagel ran for the US Senate against Ben Nelson, who was the governor of Nebraska at the time. Although many people believed he had no chance of winning at all, he won a stunning upset in the election, receiving 54% of the votes (Nelson was later elected to Nebraska's other Senate seat, in 2000). Six years later in 2002, Hagel overwhelmingly won re-election with over 83% of the vote, the largest margin of victory in any statewide race in Nebraska history.
Since his election to the Senate in 1996, Hagel has served as deputy whip (politics) for the Republican Caucus. He has been chair of both the Senate Global Climate Change Observer Group and the Senate Oversight Task Force. He serves as co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He also serves on the NATO Observer Group. Hagel is a member of four Senate committees: Foreign Relations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on Rules and Administration.
In August 2004, Hagel acknowledged that he is considering a United States presidential election, 2008. He spoke to the Iowa delegation at the 2004 Republican National Convention.
In 2006, the University of Nebraska Press released the only official biography of Hagel, Chuck Hagel: Moving Forward by Charlyne Berens.
Criticism of Bush Administration
On August 18, 2005, Hagel compared the Iraq War to Vietnam War, and openly mocked Vice President Dick Cheney's assertion that the Iraqi insurgency was in its "last throes." http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/08/18/hagel.iraq/
In November 2005, Hagel made a much-publicized statement saying "To question your government is not unpatriotic -- to not question your government is unpatriotic." This was in reference to the increasing amount of debate surrounding the Iraq War, and his assertion that the United States should withdraw its troops.
In December 2005, in reference to Bush, the GOP, and the Patriot Act, 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," http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/20/AR2005122001488.html?nav=rss_print/asection
In January 2006, Hagel took issue with Karl Rove over controversial statements the White House advisor made concerning the mindset of Republicans and Democrats. Hagel said, "Well, I didn't like what Mr. Rove said, because it frames terrorism and the issue of terrorism and everything that goes with it, whether it's the renewal of the Patriot Act or the NSA wiretapping, in a political context." He also said that "dark clouds" are hanging over the Republican party," and "If you look at the environment and the atmospherics politically in this town, read any poll. The sixth year of a governing party usually ... is not good ... the country is tired, a lot of complications in these international issues, we're at war." http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/view.php?StoryID=20060129-115324-3058r
Hagel further criticized the Bush administration, saying, "National security is more important than the Republican Party or the Democratic Party (United States). And to use it to try and get someone elected will ultimately end up in defeat and disaster for that political party." http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/view.php?StoryID=20060129-115324-3058r
In July 2006, Hagel again took issue with the Bush administration, this time on its handling of the Israel-Lebanon issue saying "The sickening slaughter on both sides must end and it must end now. President Bush must call for an immediate cease-fire. This madness must stop."
According to a SurveyUSA poll, Hagel has a 10% higher approval rating among Nebraska Democrats than Republicans.http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=94ea1bee-bd97-46f6-a3e8-82343c79d696
Possible run for President in 2008
Hagel is widely discussed as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2008. There is a Draft Hagel grassroots movement underway, with blogs http://hagel2008.blogspot.com/ http://www.ohioforhagel08.blogspot.com/ http://wisconsinforhagel2008.blogspot.com/ and on-line groups http://groups.google.com/group/Hagel2008 http://groups.myspace.com/ChuckHagel http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HagelForPresident/ http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MOforHagel/ http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SCforHagel/ devoted to recruiting Senator Hagel to run for President. The Senator has repeatedly said that he will not decide whether or not to run until after the November 2006 midterm elections.
Courtesy of: http://www.wikipedia.org/