November 18, 2004


Hagel says Nelson ag move not likely (JAKE THOMPSON, November 18, 2004, Omaha WORLD-HERALD)

While rumors continued to circulate that Sen. Ben Nelson was under consideration to be the next agriculture secretary, Sen. Chuck Hagel said Thursday that he doesn't think Nelson is in serious contention.

The Nebraska Republican said he and a senior aide had spoken with White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and President Bush's senior political adviser, Karl Rove, since CNN first reported Wednesday that Rove had talked with Nelson about taking the job being vacated by Ann Veneman.

"No job offer has been made to Senator Nelson," Hagel said on his weekly conference call with reporters. "I don't know if this will get to a serious point or not.

"It's my understanding that right now it's not a serious situation, that they're not in any serious discussions."

The White House, Hagel said, was not "even close to a job offer" for Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat. Hagel had told Card in a call Wednesday night that he would support Nelson's appointment as ag secretary.

At the same time, Hagel said, White House officials are having "very serious discussions" with other potential candidates, whom he declined to name.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 18, 2004 6:28 PM

Do we trust anything Hagel says?

Posted by: Sandy P at November 18, 2004 6:52 PM

If memory serves, Hagel and Nelson are bitter enemies. I would imagine that Hagel's call to Card was along the lines of "If you think I'm a problem now, just wait and see what I'm like after you appoint that S.O.B. to the cabinet."

Posted by: Dan at November 18, 2004 9:03 PM


Hagel's a lightweight--the White House wouldn't hesitate to smack him down. Even his colleagues call him McCain Lite.

Posted by: oj at November 18, 2004 9:17 PM


Maybe so, but part of me says why pick fights you don't have to have, particularly since Nelson's seat would be ours in '06 if he doesn't break ranks and vote right on the important issues? For example, as I recall, he voted for cloture on some, if not all, of the filibusters against judges.

Posted by: Dan at November 18, 2004 9:53 PM

Oops!! I read this wrong all the way. From an Omaha TV station, quoting Hagel: "The White House would be wise to consider Sen. Nelson for secretary of agriculture. It would be good for Nebraska. I have let the White House know of my support for Sen. Nelson."

I do recall that the reason Nelson wouldn't wwitch to the GOP was that he and Hqgel were at each other's throats.

Posted by: Dan at November 18, 2004 9:59 PM

Maybe we should just do a trade, sending Hagel for Nelson. What's another Saudi stooge in the Democratic caucus?

Posted by: Bart at November 19, 2004 6:35 AM

The Post ran a very favorable profile of Hagel a few days ago, hinting he's their preferred Republican for 2008 if McCain doesn't run.

Posted by: George at November 19, 2004 3:13 PM