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Hagel Puts Off Announcement

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) is anything but predictable. (Read the story I filed for the Web today.)

At a much-anticipated press conference this morning in Omaha billed as the definitive decision on his political future, Hagel punted.

"I will make a decision on my political future later this year," said Hagel. He added that he will continue to travel the country, raising money both for his Sandhills political action committee and his re-election account.

So, we know nothing more after Hagel's announcement that we did before it. His prepared remarks are included below.

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Statement by U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel on His Political Future

March 12, 2007

America stands at an historic crossroads in its history. It is against this backdrop that I find myself at my own crossroads on my political future. Burdened by two wars, faced with dangerous new threats and global uncertainty, beset by serious long-term domestic problems and divided by raw political partisanship-America now reaches for a national consensus of purpose. America's response to the challenges and opportunities that confront us today will define our future. Finding solutions to these challenges and capitalizing on these opportunities will not wait until the next election.

I have worked hard over the last ten years on foreign policy and national security issues, climate change and energy, education, entitlement reform, especially Social Security reform, health care, veterans benefits, GSE reform, and immigration reform. This year will be an important year for these critical issues- and I intend to offer new initiatives on each of them. I want to give these and other subjects my full attention over the next few months. I believe it is in the interests of my Nebraska constituents and this country that I continue to work full time on these challenges.

America is facing its most divisive and difficult issue since Vietnam-the war in Iraq, an issue that I have been deeply involved in. I want to keep my focus on helping find a responsible way out of this tragedy, and not divert my energy, efforts and judgment with competing political considerations.

I am here today to announce that my family and I will make a decision on my political future later this year.

In making this announcement, I believe there will still be political options open to me at a later date. But that will depend on the people of Nebraska and this country. I cannot control that and I do not worry about it. I will continue to participate in events across this country, raising money for my Political Action Committee to assist Republican candidates, and raising funds for a Senate re-election campaign.

In conclusion, I would first like to commend my colleagues who are currently seeking their Party's presidential nomination. I admire each of them for their willingness to put themselves on the line and pursue their strong beliefs and ideals.

I believe the political currents in America are more unpredictable today than at any time in modern history. We are experiencing a political re-orientation, a redefining and moving toward a new political center of gravity. This movement is bigger than both parties. The need to solve problems and meet challenges is overtaking the ideological debates of the last three decades-as it should. America is demanding honest, competent and accountable governance.

A global political readjustment is also in play today...and will respond to America's leadership. What is at stake for the future of America is larger than just American politics. Politics is simply the mechanism democracies use to affect responsible change. The world is not static, it is dynamic.

At the beginning of my remarks I said that America is reaching for a national consensus of purpose. We will find it because Americans expect it and will demand it. I do not believe America's greatness is lost to the 20th Century. There are chapters of America's greatness yet to be written. I intend to continue being part of America's story.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 12, 2007; 10:10 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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