WASHINGTON – Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel says the Republican Party has been led astray by "isolationist insulationists" and it may be time for an independent presidential ticket — perhaps with the names Bloomberg and Hagel on it.
Hagel, a lifelong Republican who has been a frequent critic of the Iraq war, said Sunday he will decide about running by late summer after determining where he can best play a role to "make a better world."
After dining recently with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is also considering a run for president as an independent, Hagel said people might want to consider the two on a ticket.
"We didn't make any deals. But I think Mayor Bloomberg is the kind of individual who should seriously think about this," Hagel said.
"It's a great country to think about — a New York boy and a Nebraska boy to be teamed up leading this nation," he said.
Hagel said it was time for the political system to be shaken up with a third-party candidacy. He explained that the GOP is no longer the party of "Eisenhower, of Goldwater, of Reagan," but rather a group hijacked by "single-minded, almost isolationist insulationists, power-projectors."
"I think the elections next year for president and other offices will be settled on the basis of what America will be looking at and wanting and demanding — honest, competent, accountable leadership," Hagel said.
"This country is in trouble. The world is in trouble. And we need some new, fresh, independent ideas to lead this country forward," he said.
Hagel spoke on "Face the Nation" on CBS.