Since the call lasts about 40 minutes, with 20 minutes of deadtime before and at least that much afterwards, I thought I'd share some of Hagel's more interesting statements:
On the November Elections
“When the American people are unhappy with their leaders, there’s a reaction....There will likely be some correction to the direction of this country....If you’re a Republican in Congress right now you’re probably a little bit concerned about your future in public office.”
On Bush's Off-budget "Emergency Spending"
“This war, in particular, is costing us more money than the Administration ever told us it would.....The new numbers monthly costs now are at about 10 billion a month in Iraq versus where we were a few months ago at 6 billion a month....This administration has abused this process.”
On Spending By the Republican Congress
"At some point, we have got to stop this madness here in Washington D.C....The American people are as mad at us about driving this country economically off the edge as any one thing....What we’re doing to this country is almost criminal.”
In Defense of "Earmarking"
“Earmarks aren’t necessarily additional spending...Earmarks are almost in all cases……focused on prioritizing....The debate about earmarks is really one that has gotten off track....Should Congressmen and Senators not have anything to say about where money goes for projects?...Should bureaucrats at the Dept. of Transportation make that decision?”
Damn. I should just shut up and let Hagel do the talking more often.
Hagel's comments about "earmarks" were especially note-worthy: a)because they undermine Nebraska GOP efforts to attack Sen. Ben Nelson; and b)because they were spoken with annoyance - maybe even a hint of outrage - at one Omaha World-Herald reporter's obvious attempt to spin the issue.
Too bad the Nebraska media doesn't do a better job of getting Hagel's voice out there on a lot of these issues. All in all, the call makes for a pretty good listen - one that certainly inspires some degree of respect and confidence in Hagel the man. Now, if only his voting record would do the same for Hagel the politician.