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Hagel: McCain attacks 'treading on thin ground'
David Edwards and Andrew McLemore
Published: Sunday July 27, 2008

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Republican Senator Chuck Hagel took John McCain to task Sunday morning for recent tactics aimed at demeaning Barack Obama's Iraq policy.

On CBS' Face the Nation, Hagel criticized both McCain's recent statements regarding Obama's proposed timetable and new advertisements released by the McCain campaign suggesting that Obama ignored injured troops.

"I think John is treading on some very thin ground here when he impugns motives and when we start to get into 'you're less patriotic than me, I'm more patriotic,'" Hagel said.

McCain said that Obama's decision for a 16-month withdrawal was based on political expediency and that "he chose a political path that would get him the nomination."

"I admire and respect John McCain very much," Hagel said. "I have a good relationship. To this day we do. We talk often. I talked to him right before I went to Iraq, as a matter of fact. Johnís better than that."

Bob Schieffer asked Hagel what he thought about a McCain ad that claimed Obama "made time to go to the gym but canceled a visit with wounded troops. Seems the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras."

A McCain ad attacking Obama for canceling a troop visit in Germany was not appropriate, Hagel said.

"That is a completely distorted and, I think, inappropriate advertisement."

The Nebraska senator also said he agreed with Obama's decision not to visit the hospital of wounded veterans.

"I think it would be totally inappropriate for him on a campaign trip to go to a military hospital and use those soldiers as props. So I think he probably, based on what I know, he did the right thing."

Hagel, who accompanied Obama for part of his tour in Europe, tops most lists of potential cross-over vice presidential candidates for the senator, according to an article in The Nation

This video is from CBS's Face the Nation, broadcast July 27, 2008.

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