Here's some particularly candid and refreshing excerpts from the interview:
On challenging the President on Iraq:
If someone says I am a disloyal Republican because I am not supporting my party, let them say it. War is bigger than politics.
On Iraqi War's similarities to Vietnam:
Congress was absent during the Vietnam War, and they didn't ask the tough questions, and consequently we lost 58,000 Americans and lost a war and humiliated this nation. It took a generation to get over it. As long as I am here as a U.S. senator, I am going to do whatever I can to make sure that isn't going to happen.
On the constant speculation about his running for President:
There's a dynamic to politics that has lately been overtaken by show business. Politics is show business. It's just show business for the ugly. It's Hollywood without all the beautiful people.
On the current $400 billion annual deficit with a Republican-controlled White House and Congress:
In terms of the deficit, we have blown the top right off. We're a bunch of Democrats...(but) we're less honest about it. We built the biggest government history has ever seen under a Republican government. The Democrats are better because they are honest about it. They don't pretend. I admire that. They'll say: ''We want more money. We need more money.''
My God, a Republican who actually recognizes and talks about the Republican Party's daily betrayal of every principle it claims to uphold. Thank you, Sen. Hagel.
It's about time someone mentions the true choice that lies before the American people between "Tax & Spend" Democrats and "SPEND & SPEND" Republicans, who should honestly change the nickname of their party from the GOP to the IOU.
America needs politicians who stick to and speak openly about their ideals - whatever they be - and needs a whole lot less hypocrisy from its ruling party. Since the Democrats can't make the case for themselves while the press cowers and refuses to challenge those in power, it pains me to admit that the future of this country may very well rest in the hands of Republicans of conscience willing to put country first.
For today, at least, it seems our fate rests with people like Chuck Hagel.