Word is that Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska will start vying for the GOP presidential nomination:
Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who has been one of the fiercest Republican critics of the Iraq war, intends to make clear on Monday whether he will seek his party's 2008 presidential nomination, a spokesman said Wednesday.
Mr. Hagel, whose second term in the Senate ends next year, could also announce his intention to seek re-election or to leave politics. His spokesman, Mike Buttry, declined to elaborate on the announcement, which is scheduled for Monday morning at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
If Mr. Hagel seeks the presidency, his candidacy would inject into the Republican contest the strongest conservative voice of criticism over the Iraq war. Whether such views would win support in a Republican primary remains an open question.
It's worth pointing out that Hagel has no support among GOP primary voters. He shows up at between 0 and 1 percent support in polls, despite a growing national reputation (evidenced by this glowing Esquire profile, which provides this post's title). Upwards of 70 percent support the war. Hagel doesn't. So it's just as likely Hagel could be retiring from politics, as the Hotline speculates.