Hagel on Endorsing (Possibly) Obama

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Hagel Steve Clemons Hauser.JPG
I’m over in Hong Kong with a crazy schedule and round of meetings — but rumors, good ones, still reach me.
The latest — which I wholeheartedly endorse — is that Senator Chuck Hagel may be on the verge of endorsing Barack Obama for President.
In my own view, Hagel should wait until after the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul to do so. We’ll see if this happens and try to assess whether this is in Hagel’s “job interests” or not at this point.
More on that later. Off to Macau to see how the odds on the presidential race are looking.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

42 comments on “Hagel on Endorsing (Possibly) Obama

  1. Kathleen says:

    Crossover voting didn’t originate with Rush Lambone… it’s been done before Operation Chaos, but be that as it may, we’ll soon know who Obama chooses and which of us was correct about Hillary being chosen for the veep spot. …did you caucus in Incline Village? I spend a lot of time in Tahoe on the CA. side of the lake.

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  2. Tahoe Editor says:

    Nevada’s caucuses were January 19, about two months before Rush launched “Operation Chaos,” so you’ve got the cart before the horse.

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  3. Kathleen says:

    Then we disagree on that point, but if one were following Rush Lambone’s instructions, one could caucus as well as vote in a primary. It does take more time to caucus than to vote in a primary, I’ll give you that.
    On whose opinion is “laughable”, if it turns out that I am mistaken in my opinion, I’ll be the first to acknowledge it, but he who laughs last, laughs best. May the best candidate win.

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  4. Tahoe Editor says:

    Pay attention. I don’t oppose her for VP. I just don’t think BO would consider it. I spent a lot of time caucusing for Hillary here in Nevada. Your “disingenuousness” assessment is off the mark.
    http://tinyurl.com/BO-shortlist

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  5. Kathleen says:

    You’re welcome…but your opinion doesn’t qualify as something I get all worked up about…I mention your particular insult when I sense a disingenuousness about your ‘”support” for Hillary for Prez and your ”reasons” for opposing her for VEEP.

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  6. Tahoe Editor says:

    Thanks for the umpteenth lecture, Kathleen. Here’s hoping you’re done “foaming at the mouth”, to borrow your phrase, looking for any opportunity to type “ignorant slut”.

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  7. Kathleen says:

    Sorry if I didn’t see your apology anywhere in your posts… what I saw was a justification for your insult by referencing Jane Curtin….my referring to your insult as an example of why I have a certain impression of you is not in place of contributing something worthwhile…I suggest you exercise the same judgement in what you say, tooo.

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  8. Tahoe Editor says:

    I’ve apologized for getting caught up in the insult-slinging spirit on display here when I started posting by referencing the brilliant Point/Counterpoint routine of the legendary Curtain & Aykroyd. If you need to keep repeating it over and over in place of contributing something worthwhile, knock yourself out, Kathleen.

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  9. Kathleen says:

    I seeeee…. it’s some 20th Century commedienne’s fault then? How edifying.

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  10. Tahoe Editor says:

    Thank you, Jane Curtain. You really contribute.

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  11. Kathleen says:

    I guess to Repugs, fairness is laugable. I do consider qualifications and consider Obama quite capable of executing the duties of the office, far more qualified than that bumbling McCain, with ultra short fuse and his druggy wife. Frankly Obama and Hillary are far more competent than the me-firsters with their ossified brains, in the GOP.
    Given that Hillary actually garnered more votes than Obama, she would bring a great deal of strength to the ticket. There is not as much problem with the base and Hillary as Repugs like to think and constantly try to foment….. all those faux Hillary supporters, marching to Rush Lambone’s order, and using it to bash Obama and Demz in general. In any case, no true Hillary supporter would think calling a woman an ignorant slut, is paying tribute to another woman. That’s twisted.

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  12. Tahoe Editor says:

    Chuck Hagel, Fantasy Running Mate

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  13. Tahoe Editor says:

    Women might vote for McCain if he selects Palin. She’d have a much better shot at becoming president than Obama’s VP.
    I think the idea of it being “fair for another American family to have a turn” is pretty laughable. Qualifications and knowing what you’re talking about? That’s so 20th century.
    Obama-Clinton will never happen. His base hates her, he’s afraid of Bill, and he spent too much time during the primaries building his pedestal above the “Clinton-Bush years” — which of course were all the same and were all bad. Obama has painted himself into a corner.
    Thoughts on Jack Reed, anyone?
    Three women who could join GOP ticket
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0608/11258.html

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  14. Kathleen says:

    Well, I think Hillary would be best for Obama. I arrive at my political choices for partly logical reasons and for partly psycho-logical reasons. After I research the candidates, issues, etc. there’s still that internal; gut feeling from a person.
    I’ve said I was neither an Obama or Hillary supporter, yet I found it extremely difficult to think about having to choose between the first woman and the first black President. Ultimately, I felt that since the Clinton family had already been in the White House.for 8 years, it would be fair for another American family to have a turn and the Obamas make an excellent role model for black Americans. As an American, I like to think we’ve evolved and matured sufficiently as a Nation to actually elect a black President.
    That said, as a woman, my heart sinks, literally, every time I see a prospective old white guy VEEP, especially one to the right of Obama. My spirits lift, however, when I see Obama and Hillary together. It’s that simple. Women are not going to vote for McCain in the end, but instead of being energized and out there in force, it will be a vote cast in sorrow and disappointment.
    If McCain picks a woman, Obama some old white guy, I’ll have to choose between Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney.

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  15. Tahoe Editor says:

    But if McCain could get Sarah Palin — that would really make things interesting.

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  16. Tahoe Editor says:

    What woman? We need names. A so-called post-racial post-partisan post-everything neophyte Chicago-made non-politician politician is about as much change as the electorate can take — he needs an older white guy to make him palatable. Hillary could possibly deliver the extra votes he needs. No other woman has a shot.
    Obviously Clark is now out. Who else?

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  17. Kathleen says:

    A woman… the world has OD’ed on testoserone gone wild….someone who gives life and nurtures it…yes, a potential Prez must be commander-in-chief, but that is only one aspect of the presidency, one that is overworn…

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  18. Tahoe Editor says:

    Not for Obama’s running mate, though. I still maintain he must choose an older white guy to stand a chance. If not an old white guy, then who?
    John Harwood: “Hagel would be a risk. I think he wants an uncontroversial, a white male who wouldn’t ruffle feathers.”

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  19. Kathleen says:

    If “CHANGE” is the meme of this election cycle, then old white guys have to got to go.

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  20. Tahoe Editor says:

    Reihan Salam:
    Chuck Hagel is the least courageous Republican in Washington. I’m sorry, but this guy would be a disastrous pick, because the Republicans would pick him apart. He voted for the war, despite the fact that he was against it, because it was popular. Then he turned against the surge when it was unpopular. Now that the surge seems to be working -— this guy is a disaster. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s self-important. He’s narcissistic.

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  21. Paul Norheim says:

    Your argument is convincing, Dan. A wiser and more consistent
    choice would be Hillary Clinton for VP and Chuck Hagel for
    Secretary of State.

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  22. Chris says:

    Actually, Dan, while I agree with your argument, I’d suggest that aspects of your analysis…
    – that for Obama to choose Hagel would “totally destroy Obama’s credibility,”
    – that to do so would mean “Obama might as well throw out two thirds of his platform,” and
    – that it would constitute a “brain-dead conception of no-consequences bipartisanship” for Obama to do something like that,
    …actually represents the holy trinity of talking points for an upcoming David Broder column, “How Obama Can Prove He Understands How Washington Works.”

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  23. Dan Kervick says:

    There is almost no chance that Obama would choose Hagel as his VP, nor should there be any chance.
    Presidents and their vice presidents need to be broadly politically compatible. When voters vote for a candidate for president, they have the right to expect that, should anything ever happen to the person they voted for, his number two would then pursue at least roughly the same agenda as the person they voted for. Obviously this isn’t the case with Hagel, whose diffgerences with Obama on demoestic issues are broad, systematic and profound.
    Choosing Hagel would also totally destroy Obama’s credibility. How could any rational person believe Obama is truly committed to his proposed domestic agenda if he were to choose a vice president who is opposed to that agenda on issue after issue? This would be a kind of “bi-partisanship” gone totally loco. Obama might as well throw out two thirds of his platform.
    Given this is a site devoted exclusively to foreign policy, it’s not that surprising that there is less appreciation here than elsewhere of how utterly dotty the Hagel for VP idea is. But imagine the situation were opposite; that Obama and Hagel were bosom buddies when it came to their domestic agendas, advocating the same policies on almost every issue; but that Hagel was a pro-torture, anti-diplomacy, uber-hawkish neocon. I assume nobody would then be pushing Hagel for VP on the basis of some brain-dead conception of no-consequences bipartisanship.

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  24. Matt says:

    I think it’s actually a pretty good idea for Obama to pick a Republican (or former Republican) for VP. The thing with all this talk about bi-partisanship is that it’s currently up to the Democrats to define the tone of bi-partisanship. After 8 years of Bush, the Republicans have no place lecturing the Dems on how to be bi-partisan or even to say what kind of policies a bi-partisan Dem should endorse. They are the followers now, not the leaders. So Obama basically has the opportunity to define “a Republican that’s worth working with.” That’s part of what makes Chafee so attractive to me. He could be used to reset the Republican party and really reign in the Republican fringe, which seems to have accumulated far too much power recently.

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  25. David says:

    Lincoln Chaffee is now an independent, and a very bright, very principled public figure. I want him back in Washington, but vp might not be the right spot. I would want him as a personal adviser. He knows stuff, he gets it, and he is fearlessly, if tactfully, insightful. His piece on who signed on to Bush being able to choose to start a war, and why, is excellent. I guess he was a Republican because at one time his first name represented for the Chaffees what the Republican Party was supposed to be. I don’t know. He is where he belongs now as an independent, because he really is non-partisan, and we need a couple of former Republicans in that space. Hagel does not have Chaffee’s comprehensive intellect or breadth of knowledge, but Hagel’s creds on Iraq, Iran, and executive excesses are damned good. And he is intellectually honest, certainly on these issues.
    POA, I understand your problem with Hagel, and it is no small matter. Maybe this is part of his political penance.

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  26. Chris says:

    (okay, so linking doesn’t require HTML. Good to know…)

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  27. Chris says:

    I see HTML doesn’t work, which means the two places I’d inserted links don’t show them.
    “here’s why” about the Newsweek poll refers to this DailyKos front-page piece: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/7/12/124829/538/624/550584
    and
    “at all” about Obama’s ability to define his image refers to this TPM analysis of the Newsweek piece: http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/07/poll_race_tightens_majority_sa.php
    (also, Steve/whoever, thanks for having the error page mention that the back button is better than the “click here to return to the post” link)

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  28. Chris says:

    Okay, so Hagel’s not insane when it comes to Iraq. On a related note, that’s one fewer Republican who’ll attack Obama this fall (assuming the endorsement occurs).
    But I’d like to see someone answer this question: is Hagel really more helpful on a Democratic ticket (or in a Democratic cabinet), or as part of a bloc of non-insane conservatives? I mean, if Democrats insist on forcibly adopting any more conservatives (how does that Kerry-McCain ticket sound *now*?) because they happen to see things our way on an issue or two, two things will happen: 1) we won’t have nearly enough semi-agreeable people on the other side to make deals with, and 2) we’ll look like there’s nothing we won’t compromise on in pursuit of that fifty-first percent.
    Also, it might look bad for a guy who’s up six points in the polls (ignore Newsweek’s three-percent claim; here’s why), who’s running against a party that’s widely despised, with policies that are more popular, a more exciting theme (“Change!” vs. “Vote for the cranky, clueless guy!”)… to pick a running mate from the other party, because of national security policy, because that won’t telegraph weakness at all.
    But hey, Obama said he doesn’t do cowering, so I suppose he’ll be able to fend off that storyline.
    Just like the recent message-moderation stuff hasn’t affected his image at all.
    (side note: yes, I realize I’m bashing the horse-race numbers from the same poll that I’m referring to as showing Obama with an image problem, which makes me feel funny. The distinction I’d propose is that the Newsweek poll gets the *state* of the race wrong, and *that* part of it shouldn’t be accepted, but it’s a clear example of how the press will twist things to fit their storylines, and “Dem leader seen as flip-flopper” is almost as popular as “GOP leader seen as ‘man of the people,’ say millionaire pundits.”)

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  29. lurker says:

    As Steve has said on a number of occasions, if Obama is smart enough to take Hagel on as his VP, it could be a “game-changer” and it would show something quite good about the lesser-experienced Obama about his ability to bring out of the box players and thinkers into key leadership spots on his team.
    Good for Hagel. Good for Obama.

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  30. Kathleen says:

    I’m waiting for Dr.Justin Frank to write a ‘”McCain On the Couch”…
    John McCain’s “humor” shows disturbing patterns, questioning his presidential ability
    Submitted by Chad on Fri, 07/11/2008 – 3:32pm. Be-Elected There is presidential humor. Mark Russell certainly did a lot of that. And the entertainment from the White House Correspondents Dinner has been great (Stephen Colbert) and horrible (Rich Little).
    Then there’s presidential candidates (& presidents) and humor. And that, uh, doesn’t go well.
    John McCain has proven to be a particularly good example as to why presidential candidates shouldn’t make jokes.
    “Maybe that’s a way of killing them.” — McCain said about Iranians, responding to a question about a survey that shows increased exports to Iran, particularly cigarettes.
    “That old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb.” – McCain to the tune of the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann.”
    And not while on the presidential campaign trail, there is the horrendous Chelsea Clinton joke that doesn’t need repeating.
    John McCain probably thinks he’s funny, but he is one of the few. He might even think his “c-nt” reference about his wife’s makeup was “funny” as well.
    McCain may have been learning from George W. Bush, known for his “jokes” in 2004 about not finding WMDs in Iraq, despite the thousands of lost lives after going to war over the “apparent” WMDs.
    And let’s not forget the Ronald Reagan “classic” on August 11, 1984 when he spoke off the air before his weekly radio address:
    My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.
    This doesn’t mean politicians can’t compete in the comedy realm. You can go back to Richard Nixon’s “Sock it to Me” appearance on Laugh-In. Or the recent segments with the candidates on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and the “Colbert Report.”
    And we certainly shouldn’t judge a candidate based on a sense of humor, or lack of one. But what we have seen about McCain based on his “humor” is quite disturbing. The president of the United States, despite the current occupant, is a sensitive position where judgment and consideration are vital. And John McCain, regardless of one’s politics or philosophy, clearly, wantonly does not have the sensitivity or consideration required to be commander-in-chief. ;

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  31. Bartolo says:

    Hagel’s choice of Obama over McCain might be an indication of how much Hagel thinks that his fellow vet is mentally unqualified for president.

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  32. Kathleen says:

    Being neither an Obama or a Hillary supporter, I nevertheless found it difficult to think about having to choose between a first woman and a first black President. Whichever candidate won each primary or caucus, I found myslef feeling sorry for the loser. Now, I’ve noticed whenever the MSM comes up with a veep potential, I’m finding myself feeling a let down when it’s an old white guy again and worse on the repug side with two old white guys. … frankly, this is not the year of the old white guy…. They are sooooo “yesterday”. I happen to think it’s refreshing to have a black and woman on the ticket. I think Obama and Hillary have good energy together, even though I’ll vote for Nader if he’s on the ballot in my State and they don’t impeach the two Culprits-In-Chief. Refusal to impeach is tantamount to favoring the abolishment of any standards of official conduct, something I cannot support.

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  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, bob h, we can do without Powell’s “coming through” for us. His idea of “coming through” is seeing how far he can cram his head up the CIC’s ass. He’s “come through” once for us already, and look how well that turned out.
    As far as Hagel goes, I still have a very hard time getting past his criminal actions in regards to ES&S. However, with the dismal choices currently available to us, I suppose Hagel might serve to temper Obama’s propensity for PC cowboy talk about spanking whatever country AIPAC tells him needs to be spanked. Obama has never served, much less seen blood spilled. Hagel, on the other hand, has seen action, has been wounded, and actually managed to avoid serving his tour in a POW camp. I realize it is not respectful to mouth these words, but, why does getting shot down and captured qualify you for hero status? If I have a choice who is going to watch my back, or lead my unit, its gonna be the guy that has managed to avoid capture. So, I suppose Hagel would do well in countering the hero image of this clown McCain, and compensate for Obama’s complete lack of anything vaquely resembling a qualification for becoming the CIC.
    Besides, nothing has been done to repair the electoral process, and it is just as corruptable and insecure as it was in 2000 and 2004. So perhaps Hagel’s expertise and past connections regarding voting machines and highly questionable ballot results could prove to be his greatest contribution to putting an empty suit in the Oval Office.

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  34. questions says:

    Why would any dem pick even a moderate rep as a vp? The party change should succession become an issue seems to me, at any rate, to preclude this. Would the vp change party affiliation before accepting the job? Maybe it doesn’t matter, but I kind of think this is an important issue given that party affiliation still matters to some people. Maybe we’re more post-partisan than I think.

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  35. Matt says:

    Nice, I put some play chips on Hagel endorsing Obama a few weeks ago at intrade. MSNBC just reported that Obama will be making the trip to Iraq with Hagel and Senator Jack Reed of RI. I am still hoping that Obama will choose Lincoln Chafee for VP, as he was the only Republican to vote against the Iraq war. And he did take a hit just for being a Republican despite the principled stand. Maybe Reed and Hagel are the vetters?

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  36. questions says:

    WigWag,
    My understanding of the Obama abortion issue is that he was saying that the mental health clause needed to be a significant mental health issue and not just a mild regret. Given that (to the best of my knowledge) most late term abortions are for significant fetal abnormalites “incompatible with life” (anencephaly or one of the really horrific trisomies), and for fetal demise (which is not really an abortion at that point, but I have known people forced to carry to term after fetal demise (unthinkable), this clause is not likely that significant. If the barriers to early abortion are removed (adequate education to know that your pregnant, adequate funding so that you don’t have to save up money, and adequate services so that you don’t have to arrange transportation to one of the far flung counties that has a provider), then likely there is little to no impact from this mincing of words. Further, it’s relatively in keeping with the Roe framework which has this trimester structure. The state gains an interest as the fetus hits viability.
    What Obama is trying to steer through is the rocky shoals of the left/right divide in American politics. It’s ugly, but the dems have come out on the losing side for quite some time. (And by the way, H. Clinton floated a compromise-y abortion position several years ago — we all have an interest in….)
    Seeming to back off on abortions, guns and gays will gain him votes. The dems probably need to give in on these issues if they are ever to win a presidency again. On abortions, then, he says 3rd term restrictions have to have meaning (it’s in keeping with Roe), on guns he says individual right but urban restrictions have some legitimacy (well, yeah) on gays, he says “cured gays” are legitimate (wtf? but it is a constituency I guess). These are smallish steps away from dem dogmatism that have been called for at various times to broaden the party. Remember B. Clinton ended welfare and was totally totally pro-death penalty. Obama is only partially pro-death penalty (super heinous crimes like Dahmer, and I guess child rape, too.) Sadly the steps probably need to be taken and we need to wait for evolving standards of decency to arrive. Don’t ask, don’t tell is on its way out mercifully. Other policies will go away too, as generations shift. Is it the most attractive posturing for a dem? Not really. Is it necessary for coalition building. Quite probably. If it all turns out to be unnecessary, maybe it’ll all go away.
    It goes to show, though, how afraid of the republicans’ ad campaigns the dems have become. The sad and lasting legacy of Lee Atwater.

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  37. bob h says:

    I do hope Colin Powell comes through for us, as well.

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  38. Carroll says:

    Just saw over at memo that Hagel is going to Iraq with Obama.
    I don’t really care that much about the FISA voting flap, FISA is something that can be undone or modified later.
    We should all be zeroed in right now on Iraq, Iran and foreign policy. And Hagel is the just the one to handle that…. if Obama gets elected and has the good sense to use him.
    I could get interested in Obama again if he had the good sense to pick Hagel as VP or for some other top position like Defense or State.

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  39. David says:

    On foreign policy, especially on Iraq, Hagel is spot on. Not in the league with my man Bob Graham, who as chair of the Senate intelligence committee voted against authorizing Bush to choose to start a war, but impressive since his intellectual honesty regarding Iraq came to the forefront. The FISA vote, while I didn’t like it, is more complex than you seem to suggest, WigWag. And Obama is stuck with having to run for President of the United States, which means finding common ground with more voters than I could ever find common ground with.
    I can live with Hagel as VP.

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  40. Linda says:

    Apparently they are going to Iraq together later this month.
    So if this endorsement actually happens, then McCain is endorsed by an Independent Lieberman. Obama is endorsed by a Republican Hagel. So my question is who will Bernie Sanders endorse?
    And who will make better appointments to the Supreme Court?

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  41. WigWag says:

    Well, they both voted for the FISA Bill. They both supported retroactive immunity for telephone companies. They should be very happy together! They both oppose a mental health exception for third trimester abortions, they both support the Supreme Court’s recent second amendment decision.
    McCain’s got Lieberman, Obama has Hagel. I happily admit that Obama got the better part of the bargain, but not by much.

    Reply

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