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Chuck Hagel, Republican senator from Nebraska, is rumored to be on the short list for President-Elect Obama's cabinet. Obama has said that he'd like to reach across the aisle in his cabinet picks and for a period Hagel was rumored to be on the short list for VP, which may have countered John McCain well as Hagel is also a decorated Vietnam Vet. Hagel has said that he will be retiring from the senate, which might leave him available to fill Gates' vacancy after Gates leaves office, which may not be immediately following inauguration.
Several sources have listed Hagel as a possible cabinet member, specifically in the Secretary of Defense position. Bill Richardson, who is also a cabinet candidate has said that Hagel would work well in an Obama cabinet.
Hagel has also left himself open to be recruited by President-Elect Obama, according to a source.
While the source wouldn't give up much, there was no denying that there has always been an open channel of communication with the Obama campaign, since Biden was picked to become future VP. Biden and Hagel are very good friends -- both as Senate colleagues on the Foreign Relations Committee and as close personal friends who talk often.
Could Biden be talking to Hagel about a job as "a friend" instead of in his official capacity as VP-elect? Entirely possible, but not knowable -- or confirmable -- at this point.