Hagel "Not Planning" To Endorse Either Candidate

09/13/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican who is one of John McCain's closest friends -- but who has been mentioned as a potential running mate for Democrat Barack Obama -- is sitting out the presidential contest, according to his spokesman, Jordan Stark.

"Senator Hagel has no intention of getting involved in any of the campaigns and is not planning to endorse either candidate," Stark said in a statement to USA TODAY.

Stark issued the statement after Hagel's name came up during a conference call Tuesday in which two former Republican officeholders announced their support for Obama. Jim Leach, a former Republican congressman from Iowa, said on the call that he hoped Obama is considering Hagel for the vice presidential slot. The other "Republican for Obama" on the call was Lincoln Chafee, a former senator from Rhode Island.

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