03/31/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Hagel Cool On Backing McCain

Citing foreign policy differences, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), one of his party's biggest critics of the Iraq war and a co-chair of Sen. John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign, indicated Sunday that he is in no rush to endorse the Arizona Republican this time around.
As most GOP lawmakers are falling in line behind McCain, the party's presumptive nominee, Hagel's absence from the list of supporters has been highly visible.

"When I endorse someone, or when I work for someone, or commit to someone, I want to be behind that person in every way I can," Hagel said on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. "I've obviously got some differences with John on the Iraq war. That's no secret. I want to understand a little more about foreign policy, where he'd want to go."
The senator added that the disagreement with McCain "certainly doesn't put me in Obama or Clinton's camp."

Hagel, who had been mentioned as a possible candidate on a third party ticket, noted there is a growing frustration among voters with both parties.

"There are more registered independents today in America than Democrats or Republicans," the senator noted, pointing also to low approval ratings for Congress.

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