‘NY Times’ Sunday Preview: Sen. Chuck Hagel Interview

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By: E&P Staff

In an interview to be published in The New York Times Magazine this Sunday, maverick Republican Senator Chuck Hagel calls politics ?show business for the ugly.? He also refuses to rule out a run for president in 2008, noting that at age 59 he is just a ?puppy.?

Among his harshest assessments of his own party: The GOP has ?blown the top right off? the budget deficit. ?We’re a bunch of Democrats,? he charges, adding that the Dems
?are better because they are honest about it. They don’t pretend.? He said he wants his party to return to the ?simple party? of Eisenhower, Goldwater and Reagan.

Hagel, lately a critic of President Bush on his Iraq policy, said the difference between Iraq and Vietnam is that congress didn’t ?ask the tough questions? back then. ?As long as I am here as a U.S. senator,? he added, ?I am gong to do whatever I can go make sure that isn’t going to happen.? Hagel served in Vietnam and said he still has some shrapnel in his chest.

He said the U.S. needs more men and women in uniform but he opposes getting there by continuing to increase bonus pay, because ?you get people signing up for the wrong reasons.?

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