Chuck Hagel

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Posted by sonny 02/28/2009 @ 00:38

Tags : chuck hagel, nebraska, states, us

News headlines
Hagel accepts position at Deutsche Bank - Gateway
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel has been appointed to Deutsche Bank's Americas Advisory Board, according to an announcement made May 6. Hagel, 62, is a UNO alumnus, holding a bachelor's degree in general studies from the university....
Is History on Crist's Side in the Governor-to-Senator Shuffle? -
Nelson faced an unusually strong Republican opponent in Chuck Hagel, a former investment bank executive and business consultant. Hagel wound up winning by 14 percentage points, then won another term easily in 2002 before retiring at the end of 2008....
The gop's Paranoid Foreign Policy - Newsweek
"This nonsense that if we cooperate with the world and if we form alliances that somehow this is going to be subversive to our sovereign interests is crazy," says Chuck Hagel, the recently retired Republican senator who identifies himself with the more...
Navigate: POLITICO | Ideas | In GOP, who takes lead criticizing ... - Politico
I say again: Instead of alienating Colin Powell, if you want to win in 2012, you better figure how to make him (and guys like him, ie, Chuck Hagel) your standard-bearer in this next presidential election. If you don't, you're going to go the way of the...
Same Old Party - Cherry Creek News
Chuck Hagel (NE), Gordon Smith (OR), and John Warner (VA) -- were still in Congress, they would be "left of [the] Republican Party today." Steele explained himself, saying, "They are to the left on some very critical issues that are fundamental to our...
A New Approach to Karzai - Washington Post
Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.). Obama voiced concern that the situation was worse than Karzai had acknowledged, Hagel recalled. He "was not taken in," Hagel said, "by all of the happy talk." Today, as the two leaders meet in the White House, that skepticism...
Things Overheard at the National Council for a New America - IMAO
Like Chuck Hagel.” * “We need to get away from things that are scaring young people from our parties, like social issues. Also, he can try handing out meth.” * “Without Arlen Specter in this Party, it's like we've lost our soul....
Obama, Karzai: Not so chummy - Seattle Times
Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. Obama voiced concern that the situation was worse than Karzai had acknowledged, Hagel recalled. He "was not taken in," Hagel said, "by all of the happy talk." As the two leaders meet in the White House today, that skepticism drives...
Bo Obama's trainer takes it all in stride - USA Today
Ted Kennedy and Chuck Hagel pepper her website, and she also has worked with the dogs of diplomats and media movers and shakers. But her work with Bo, the Portuguese water dog puppy that made his public debut April 13 after she handed the leash to the...

Chuck Hagel

Chuck Hagel

Charles Timothy "Chuck" Hagel (born October 4, 1946) is a former United States Senator from Nebraska. A member of the Republican Party, he was first elected in 1996 and was reelected in 2002. On 10 February 2009, he was elected as Chairman of the Atlantic Council of the United States, succeeding General James L. Jones, who left to become National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama.

Born in North Platte, Nebraska, to Betty and Charles Hagel, who had German and Polish ancestry, he graduated from St. Bonaventure High School (now Scotus Central Catholic High School) in Columbus, Nebraska, and the Brown Institute for Radio and Television in 1966 and from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1972. Hagel is a Vietnam War veteran, having served in the United States Army infantry, attaining the rank of Sergeant (E-5) from 1967–1968. While serving during the Vietnam War, he received the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, two Purple Hearts, Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge. After returning from Vietnam, Hagel worked as a bartender and radio newscaster while finishing college.

Hagel married Lilibet Ziller in April, 1985. The couple live with their daughter, Allyn, and son, Ziller, in McLean, Virginia.

Hagel's brother, Thomas, also a veteran of the Vietnam War, is a professor at the University of Dayton School of Law.

In 1971, Hagel was hired as a staffer for Congressman John Y. McCollister (R-NE), serving until 1977. For the next four years, he worked as a lobbyist for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, and, in 1980, he served as an organizer for the successful presidential campaign of former California Governor Ronald Reagan.

After Reagan's inauguration as President, Hagel was named deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration. In 1982, however, he resigned his post over a disagreement with V.A. Administrator Robert P. Nimmo, who was intent on cutting funding for V.A. programs, and who had referred to veterans groups as "greedy", and to Agent Orange as not much worse than a "little teenage acne".

After leaving government employment, Hagel co-founded Vanguard Cellular, a mobile phone manufacturer that made him a multi-millionaire. While working with Vanguard, he served as president and chief executive officer of the United Service Organizations and the Private Sector Council, as deputy director and chief operating officer of the 1990 G7 Summit, and on the board of directors or advisory committee of the American Red Cross, the Eisenhower World Affairs Institute, Bread for the World, and the Ripon Society. He also served as Chairman of the Agent Orange Settlement Fund and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Although he was pressured by some to run for Governor of Virginia, where he had lived for 20 years, in 1992 Hagel moved back to Nebraska to become president of the McCarthy Group, an investment banking firm. He also served as a Chairman and was CEO of American Information Systems Inc. (AIS), a voting machine manufacturer, this same company electronically counted 80% of the votes in the state in the very same election that he had his stunning upset. He did not disclose his position as CEO of the company in his mandated disclosures, until its name-change to Election Systems & Software (ES&S) in 1997. He had ownership interest in ES&S through its parent company The McCarthy Group as of January 29, 2003, when The Hill reported that, due to his ownership interest, “Hagel’s ethics filings pose disclosure issue”.

In 1996, Chuck Hagel ran for the US Senate against Ben Nelson, who was the sitting governor of Nebraska. Although many people believed he had no chance of winning, he won a "stunning upset" in the election, receiving 56% of the vote (Nelson was later elected to Nebraska's other Senate seat, in 2000). During his first campaign, Hagel indicated that, were he to be elected, he would retire in 2008 after two terms in the Senate. Six years later in 2002, Hagel overwhelmingly won re-election with over 83% of the vote, the largest margin of victory in any statewide race in Nebraska history.

Since his election to the Senate in 1996, Hagel served as deputy whip for the Republican Caucus. He was chair of both the Senate Global Climate Change Observer Group and the Senate Oversight Task Force. He served as co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He also served on the NATO Observer Group. Hagel was a member of four Senate committees: Foreign Relations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Rules and Administration.

Hagel's name was widely rumoured to be one of those considered by George W. Bush as a potential running mate in the 2000 election.

In October 2002, Hagel voted in favor of authorizing the use of military force against Iraq.

In August 2004, Hagel acknowledged that he was considering a presidential campaign in 2008.

Hagel appeared as himself on the HBO series K Street in 2003, on the episode entitled "Week Four".

On immigration, Senator Hagel supports a "pathway to citizenship" and a "guest worker program" for undocumented immigrants. On May 25, 2006 he voted for S. 2611, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, which passed the Senate before reaching a stalemate in the House in late 2006.

On June 26, 2007, Hagel joined with Senator Ted Kennedy to support the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (S. 1639).

Due to displeasure over Hagel's stance on the war, Nebraska State Attorney General Jon Bruning announced plans to challenge him in the primaries in 2008 if he did not retire.

After considering running in the 2008 presidential election, Hagel announced in 2007 that he would retire from the Senate at the end of his present term and would not seek the presidency. He has joined the faculty of Georgetown University as a Distinguished Professor in the Practice of National Governance and will begin teaching in the fall of 2009.

The New York Times reported on Saturday, September 8, 2007 that Hagel would retire from the Senate at the conclusion of his present term, and would not seek the Republican Party nomination for the Presidency in 2008.

Hagel had a tradition of wearing costumes to work on Halloween, usually masquerading as colleagues or other notable political figures. He has arrived at work dressed as Joe Biden, John McCain, Colin Powell, and Pat Roberts in past years.

In November 2005, Hagel made a much-publicized statement: "To question your government is not unpatriotic — to not question your government is unpatriotic." This was in reference to the lack of open debate in Congress regarding the Iraq War, and in defense of his assertion that the United States should withdraw its troops.

After Republican losses in the 2006 midterm election, Hagel penned an editorial in the Washington Post highly critical of military strategies both employed and proposed for Iraq. He unequivocally declared that "There will be no victory or defeat for the United States in Iraq," and called for a "phased troop withdrawal"—making Hagel one of the most prominent voices in his party to do so.

According to a SurveyUSA poll, Hagel has a 10% higher approval rating among Nebraska Democrats than Republicans. rates Hagel as a "libertarian-leaning conservative".

In January 2007, Hagel openly criticized President Bush's plan to send an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq. He called it, "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it's carried out." Together with Democrats Joseph Biden and Carl Levin he proposed a non-binding resolution to the Democratic-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which rejected Bush's policy as "not in the national interest" in a 12-9 vote. However, in a Senate vote of 94-2 to revoke executive power to replace federal prosecutors without a preliminary hearing, Senator Hagel and Senator Kit Bond were the only opposition.

After an April 2007 visit to Iraq with Pennsylvania Democratic Representative Joe Sestak, Hagel expressed his belief that the occupation of Iraq should not continue indefinitely and defended Congressional actions to set a timeline for an end in occupation.

In July 2007, Hagel expressed his intention to cooperate with Senate Democrats in voting for a bill that would set a timeline to get out of Iraq.

Despite his criticisms of the Bush administration, his voting record was 78.1% with his party.

On September 10, 2007, Hagel announced that he would be retiring from the Senate at the end of his term in 2009. The announcement ended speculation regarding a possible bid for the presidency in 2008.

Obama is hoping to appoint cross-party figures to his cabinet such as Chuck Hagel, the Republican senator for Nebraska and an opponent of the Iraq war Senior advisers confirmed that Hagel, a highly decorated Vietnam war veteran and one of McCain’s closest friends in the Senate, was considered an ideal candidate for defense secretary.

Hagel was rumored to be a possible Obama pick for the Vice Presidential candidacy in his 2008 presidential election ticket. On June 20, 2008, Hagel said he would consider running with Obama if offered the VP spot. He had also been mentioned as a potential United States Secretary of Defense to succeed incumbent Robert Gates in the Obama administration. and said that he would consider serving if asked. In August, Hagel indicated that he wouldn't endorse either candidate or get involved in their campaigns. However, his wife endorsed Obama. Obama later picked Joe Biden as his running mate. Robert Gates was selected to remain Secretary of Defense for the Obama administration.

In Senator Hagel's new book, America: Our Next Chapter, he suggests that the United States should adopt independent leadership and possibly another political party. He also believes that the Iraq War is one of the five biggest blunders in history. Hagel is critical of George W. Bush's foreign policy, calling it "reckless." He has been a major critic of the war since it started, and has stated that the United States should learn from its mistakes in the Vietnam War. He considers Bush's foreign policy a "ping pong game with American lives".

Hagel is a Nebraska Admiral, an honorary title considering Nebraska is a landlocked state. On June 9, 2007, he gave the commencement address for North Central College and was given an honorary L.L.D.

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Flag of Nebraska

Nebraska ( /nəˈbræskə/ (help·info)) is a state located on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States and Western United States.

Nebraska probably gets its name from the archaic Otoe words Ñí Brásge pronounced (contemporary Otoe Ñí Bráhge) or the Omaha Ní Btháska pronounced meaning "flat water," after the Platte River that flows through the state. American Indian tribes in Nebraska have included the Iowas, Omahas, Missourias, Poncas, Pawnees, Otoes, and various branches of the Sioux.

Once considered part of the Great American Desert, it is now a leading farming and ranching state.

On May 30, 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act created the Kansas Territory and the Nebraska Territory, divided by the Parallel 40° North. The territorial capital of Nebraska was Omaha.

In the 1860s, the first great wave of homesteaders poured into Nebraska to claim free land granted by the federal government. Many of the first farm settlers built their homes out of sod because they found so few trees on the grassy land.

Nebraska became the 37th state in 1867, shortly after the American Civil War. At that time, the capital was moved from Omaha to Lancaster, later renamed Lincoln after the recently assassinated President of the United States Abraham Lincoln.

The Arbor Day holiday began in Nebraska, and the National Arbor Day Foundation is still headquartered in Nebraska City with some offices also located in Lincoln, NE.

Nebraska has a long history of civil rights activism, starting in 1912 with the foundation of Omaha's National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter.

The state is bordered by South Dakota to the north; Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, across the Missouri River; Kansas to the south; Colorado to the southwest; and Wyoming to the west. The state has 93 counties; it occupies the central portion of the Frontier Strip. Nebraska is split into two time zones. The Central Time zone comprises the eastern half of the state, while the western half observes Mountain Time. Three rivers cross the state from west to east. The Platte River runs through the heart, the Niobrara River flows through the northern part of the state's region, and the Republican River traverses through the southern part of the state.

Nebraska is composed of two major land regions: the Dissected Till Plains and the Great Plains. The easternmost portion of the state was scoured by Ice Age glaciers; the Dissected Till Plains were left behind after the glaciers retreated. The Dissected Till Plains is a region of gently rolling hills; Omaha and Lincoln are located within this region. The Great Plains occupy the majority of western Nebraska. The Great Plains itself consists of several smaller, diverse land regions, including the Sandhills, the Pine Ridge, the Rainwater Basin, the High Plains and the Wildcat Hills. Panorama Point, at 5,424 feet (1,653 m), is the highest point in Nebraska; despite its name and elevation, it is merely a low rise near the Colorado and Wyoming borders.

A past Nebraska tourism slogan was "Where the West Begins"; locations given for the beginning of the "West" include the Missouri River, the intersection of 13th and O Streets in Lincoln (where it is marked by a red brick star), the 100th meridian, and Chimney Rock. Nebraska is in fact a trebly landlocked state, as it does not border the ocean, nor do any of the states it borders, nor any that they border on. Nebraska also claims to have more miles of river than any other state.

Two major climates are represented in Nebraska: the eastern half of the state has a humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfa), and the western half of the state has a semi-arid continental steppe climate (Koppen BSk). The entire state experiences wide seasonal variations in temperature and precipitation. Average temperatures are fairly uniform across Nebraska with hot summers and generally cold winters, while average annual precipitation decreases east to west from about 31.5 inches (800 mm) in the southeast corner of the state to about 13.8 inches (350 mm) in the Panhandle. Humidity also decreases significantly from east to west. Snowfall across the state is fairly even, with most of Nebraska receiving between 25 and 35 inches (650 to 900 mm) of snow annually.

As of 2008, Nebraska has an estimated population of 1,783,432, which is an increase of 8,891, or 0.5%, from the prior year and an increase of 72,169, or 4.2%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 77,995 people (that is 187,564 births minus 109,569 deaths) and a decrease due to net migration of 9,319 people out of the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 27,398 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 36,717 people.

The center of population of Nebraska is located in Polk County, in the city of Shelby.

As of 2004, the population of Nebraska included about 84,000 foreign-born residents (4.8% of the population).

The five largest ancestry groups in Nebraska are German (38.6%), Irish (12.4%), English (9.6%), Swedish (4.9%), and Czech (4.9%).

Nebraska has the largest Czech-American population (as a percentage of the total population) in the nation. German-Americans are the largest ancestry group in most of the state, particularly in the eastern counties. Thurston County (made up entirely of the Omaha and Winnebago reservations) has an American Indian majority, and Butler County is one of only two counties in the nation with a Czech-American plurality.

Eighty-nine percent of the cities in Nebraska have fewer than 3,000 people. Nebraska shares this characteristic with five other Midwest and Southern states (Kansas, Oklahoma, North and South Dakota, and Iowa). Hundreds of towns have a population of fewer than 1,000.

Fifty-three of Nebraska's 93 counties reported declining populations between 1990 and 2000, ranging from a 0.06% loss (Frontier County) to a 17.04% loss (Hitchcock County). While many areas of the state continue to suffer, others have experienced substantial growth. In 2000, the city of Omaha had a population of 390,007; in 2005, the city's estimated population was 414,521,(427,872 including the recently annexed city of Elkhorn) a 6.3% increase over five years. The city of Lincoln had a 2000 population of 225,581 and a 2005 estimated population of 239,213, a 6.0% change.

This rural flight has also had an impact on schools with many schools needing to consolidate in order to survive.

The largest single denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Catholic Church (372,791), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (128,570), the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (117,419) and the United Methodist Church (117,277).

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates of Nebraska's gross state product in 2004 was $68 billion. Per capita personal income in 2004 was $31,339, 25th in the nation. Nebraska has a large agriculture sector, and is an important producer of beef, pork, corn (maize), and soybeans. Other important economic sectors include freight transport (by rail and truck), manufacturing, telecommunications, information technology, and insurance.

Nebraska has four personal income tax brackets, ranging from 2.6% to 6.8%. Nebraska has a state sales tax of 5.5%. In addition to the state tax, some Nebraska cities assess a city sales and use tax, up to a maximum of 1.5%. One county in Nebraska, Dakota County, levies a sales tax. All real property located within the state of Nebraska is taxable unless specifically exempted by statute. Since 1992, only depreciable personal property is subject to tax and all other personal property is exempt from tax. Inheritance tax is collected at the county level.

Omaha is home to Berkshire Hathaway, whose CEO Warren Buffett was ranked in March 2008 by Forbes magazine as the richest person in the world. This city is also home to InfoUSA, TD Ameritrade, West Corporation, Valmont Industries, Woodmen of the World, Kiewit Corporation, and Union Pacific Railroad. UNIFI Companies, Sandhills Publishing Company and Duncan Aviation reside in Lincoln while The Buckle is based out of Kearney. Sidney is the national headquarters for Cabela's, a specialty retailer of outdoor goods.

The world's largest train yard, Union Pacific's Bailey Yard, is located in North Platte. The Vise-Grip was invented by William Petersen in 1924, and was manufactured in De Witt until the plant closed in late 2008. Memorial Stadium on the University of Nebraska campus in Lincoln holds 85,157 people. During football games, it holds almost twice the population of Bellevue (47,954) the third-most populous city in the state. The second-largest Powerball payout was on February 18, 2006. It was $365 million and was split 8 ways by workers from a Lincoln food plant operated by ConAgra.

Nebraska has a rich railroad history. The Union Pacific Railroad, headquartered in Omaha, was incorporated on July 1, 1862, in the wake of the Pacific Railway Act of 1862. Bailey Yard, located in North Platte, is the largest railroad classification yard in the world. The route of the original transcontinental railroad runs through the state. Other major railroads with operations in the state are: Amtrak; Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway; Canadian Pacific Railway; and Iowa Interstate Railroad.

Nebraska's government operates under the framework of the Nebraska Constitution, adopted in 1875, and is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.

The head of the executive branch is the Governor Dave Heineman. Other elected officials in the executive branch are the Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy (elected on the same ticket as the Governor), Attorney General Jon Bruning, Secretary of State John A. Gale, State Treasurer Shane Osborn, and State Auditor Mike Foley. All elected officials in the executive branch serve four-year terms.

Nebraska is the only state in the United States with a unicameral legislature; that is, a legislature with only one house. Although this house is officially known simply as the "Legislature", and more commonly called the "Unicameral", its members still call themselves "senators". Nebraska's Legislature is also the only state legislature in the United States that is nonpartisan. The senators are elected with no party affiliation next to their names on the ballot, and the speaker and committee chairs are chosen at large, so that members of any party can be chosen for these positions. The Nebraska Legislature can also override a governor's veto with a three-fifths majority, in contrast to the two-thirds majority required in some other states.

The Nebraska Legislature meets in the third Nebraska State Capitol building, built between 1922 and 1932. It was designed by Bertram G. Goodhue. Built from Indiana limestone, the Capitol's base in a cross within a square. A 400-foot domed tower rises from this base. The Golden Sower, a 19-foot bronze statue representing agriculture, crowns the Capitol. The state Capitol is considered an architectural achievement. It has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects.

Unicameral supporters also argued that a bicameral legislature had a significant undemocratic feature in the committees that reconciled Assembly and Senate legislation. Votes in these committees were secretive, and would sometimes add provisions to bills that neither house had approved. Nebraska's unicameral legislature today has rules that bills can contain only one subject, and must be given at least five days of consideration.

Finally, in 1934, due in part to the budgetary pressure of the Great Depression, Nebraska's unicameral legislature was put in place by a state initiative. In effect, the Assembly (the house) was abolished; as noted, today's Nebraska state legislators are commonly referred to as "Senators".

The judicial system in Nebraska is unified, with the Nebraska Supreme Court having administrative authority over all Nebraska courts. Nebraska uses the Missouri Plan for the selection of judges at all levels. The lowest courts in Nebraska are the county courts, above that are twelve district courts (containing one or more counties). The Court of Appeals hears appeals from the district courts, juvenile courts, and workers' compensation courts. The Nebraska Supreme Court is the final court of appeal.

Nebraska currently has no active death-penalty law, due to a 2008 Nebraska Supreme Court ruling that declared the use of electrocution to be in conflict with the state constitution. (Prior to this ruling, Nebraska was the only place in the world that used electrocution as the sole method of execution.) However, executions in Nebraska had been infrequent; none had been carried out in the 21st century, and in the last few decades the state had strongly flirted with the idea of a moratorium on, or complete abolition of, capital punishment.

Nebraska's U.S. senators are Mike Johanns (R) and Ben Nelson (D). Nebraska has three representatives in the House. They are: Jeff Fortenberry (R, NE-1); Lee Terry (R, NE-2); and Adrian Smith (R, NE-3).

Nebraska is one of two states (the other being Maine) that allow for a split in the electoral vote. Since 1991, two of Nebraska's five electoral votes are awarded based on the winner of the statewide election while the other three go to the highest vote-getter in each of the state's three congressional districts. In 2008, four of Nebraska's electoral votes went to Senator John McCain (R), while one electoral vote went to Senator Barack Obama (D) making the split the first in the 18-year old system.

For most of its history, Nebraska has been a solidly Republican state. Republicans have carried the state in all but one presidential election since 1940—the 1964 landslide election of Lyndon B. Johnson. In the 2004 presidential election, George W. Bush won the state's five electoral votes by a 33% margin (the fourth-most Republican vote among states) with 65.9% of the overall vote; only Thurston County, which includes two American Indian reservations, voted for John Kerry.

Despite the current Republican domination of Nebraska politics, the state has a long tradition of electing centrist members of both parties to state and federal office; examples include George Norris (who served his last few years in the Senate as an independent), J. James Exon, and Bob Kerrey. This tradition is illustrated by Nebraska's current senators: former Senator Chuck Hagel was considered a maverick within his party, while Ben Nelson is arguably one of the most conservative members of his party in the Senate.

All population figures are 2006 Census Bureau estimates.

Arbor Day was founded by J. Sterling Morton. The National Arbor Day Foundation has its headquarters near his home in Nebraska City. The swing in the Hebron, Nebraska city park at 5th and Jefferson streets is claimed to be the world's largest porch swing, long enough to fit 18 adults or 24 children.

Nebraska Huskers football influences many of Nebraska's residents. On sell out Saturday football game days, Memorial Stadium, Lincoln with a capacity of 85,500 becomes Nebraska's 3rd Largest city.

Job's Daughters was founded in Omaha in 1920 by Ethel T. Wead Mick. There are now bethels in Canada, Australia, Brazil, and Philippines.

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United States Senate election in Nebraska, 1996

Chuck Hagel official photo.jpg

The 1996 Nebraska United States Senate special election was held on November 5, 1996 to select the U.S. Senator from the state of Nebraska. Democratic Senator J. James Exon decided to retire from the Senate. Republican businessman and Vietnam veteran Chuck Hagel decided to run for election and challenged Democratic Governor Ben Nelson for the seat. In a stunning upset, Hagel defeated Nelson with 56% of the vote. Nelson would eventually win the 2000 Senate election and serve alongside Hagel.

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Bob Kerrey

Bob Kerrey

Joseph Robert "Bob" Kerrey (born August 27, 1943) is a former Democratic Governor of Nebraska from 1983 to 1987 and a U.S. Senator from Nebraska (1989–2001). He was also an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992. Since leaving the Senate he has served as president of The New School, a university in New York City.

Kerrey was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and attended Lincoln Northeast High School, where he credits his chemistry teacher, Bob Reese, for inspiring him to pursue a career in the sciences. He went on to graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1966 with a degree in pharmacy. During his senior year at Nebraska, he was a member of the Society of Innocents, the chancellor's senior honorary. He served in the United States Navy as a SEAL from 1966 to 1969 during the Vietnam War, lost the lower part of one leg in combat, and received the Medal of Honor.

In 2001, the New York Times Magazine and 60 Minutes II carried reports on an incident that occurred during Kerrey's Vietnam War service. On February 25, 1969, he led a Swift Boat raid on the isolated peasant village of Thanh Phong, Vietnam, targeting a Viet Cong leader that intelligence suggested would be present. The village was considered part of a free fire zone by the U.S. military.

Kerrey's SEAL team first encountered a peasant house, or hooch, and killed the people inside with knives. While Kerrey says he did not go inside the hooch and did not participate in the killings, another member of the team, Gerhard Klann, said that the people killed there were an elderly man and woman and three children under 12, and that Kerrey helped kill the man. Despite the differing recollections about who actually stabbed these people, Kerrey accepts responsibility as the team leader for their deaths: "Standard operating procedure was to dispose of the people we made contact with," he told the New York Times Magazine. Later, according to Kerrey, the team was shot at from the village and returned fire, only to find after the battle that all the dead were women and children, clustered together in the center of the village. "The thing that I will remember until the day I die is walking in and finding, I don't know, 14 or so, I don't even know what the number was, women and children who were dead," Kerrey said in 1998. "I was expecting to find Vietcong soldiers with weapons, dead. Instead I found women and children." Klann, and a Vietnamese woman, Pham Tri Lanh, who says she witnessed the assault, gave a different account, saying that the SEALs rounded up the inhabitants of the village and shot them.

Returning to Nebraska, he operated a chain of restaurants and fitness centers from 1972 to 1982 before narrowly defeating Charles Thone in the 1982 election for Governor of Nebraska. He served in that office from 1983 to 1987. He declined to run for re-election in 1986, but in 1988, ran for the Senate against appointed incumbent David Karnes and defeated him by 15 points. He was reelected to the Senate in 1994 and served as the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 104th Congress before retiring in 2001.

In September 1991, Kerrey announced his candidacy for the 1992 Democratic nomination for president. In a small field of five second tier candidates devoid of an early frontrunner, Kerrey was seen as the early favorite. However, his performance on the campaign trail often seemed lackluster, especially in comparison to the dynamic Arkansas Governor, Bill Clinton. A weak performance at a Chicago Democratic gathering in November 1991, combined with a lesbian joke that he told Clinton overheard on a mike, seemed to set the tone of his campaign. Most damaging of all, though, was the revelation that few workers at Kerrey's restaurants and fitness clubs received health insurance , this despite the fact that Kerrey emphasized universal health care as one of his primary campaign themes. Kerrey finished a weak third in the New Hampshire primary in February 1992, despite spending heavily on TV advertising. He briefly rebounded after winning the South Dakota primary, but soon dropped out of the race after finishing fourth in the Colorado primary.

As a Senator representing one of the more conservative states in the country, Kerrey took arguably liberal positions on some hot-button, conservative issues. For example, he was one of only a handful of senators to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. Kerrey also led the opposition in the Senate to the proposed flag burning amendment, which failed to get the necessary two-thirds majority needed for passage. His record on economic issues was mixed but generally liberal. He voted against phasing out many farm subsidy programs, lawsuit reform measures such as the Private Securities Litigations Reform Act, and he was one of the twelve senators to vote against the initial version of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, a welfare reform bill vetoed by President Bill Clinton. Kerrey also voted against the revised version of the legislation that was signed into law by Clinton in August 1996. Kerrey's record on environmental issues and taxation was more moderate, and he was a strong supporter of free trade and limiting the size of the federal government. The Senator pushed for a more aggressive foreign policy, helping to author the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. He was a member of the New Democrat Coalition.

Kerrey was a member of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (popularly known as the "9/11 Commission"), where he accused Madeleine Albright, William Cohen, and Donald Rumsfeld of pursuing U.S. interests with insufficient aggression.

In 2001 Kerrey left the Senate to become President of The New School. At the school, Kerrey initially opposed the efforts of the United Auto Workers to unionize the adjunct (part-time) faculty, agreeing to negotiate with them only after several rulings against the administration by the National Labor Relations Board. A threatened strike of adjunct faculty was averted by the approval of a labor contract just before the strike deadline of October 31, 2005.

Kerrey presided over an ambitious program of reorganization at the university. He overhauled several divisions and brought in the respected Arjun Appadurai as Provost in 2005. Appadurai resigned this post in 2006. On April 14, 2005, Kerrey announced that the university was changing its name from New School University to The New School, and rebranding its eight divisions as specialized, separate entities serving different constituencies.

On December 10, 2008 it was announced that Kerrey had received a vote of no confidence from the University's senior faculty. This is perceived to have come as a response to his management style, his handling of a University budget crisis, and his controversial decision, since retracted, to act as temporary Provost with the departure of Joseph Westphal. Kerrey has had five provosts in his 8-year tenure, something the faculty believes is the result of his inability to reconcile with the academic nature of a University and has prevented the growth and development of academic life at the school. Ironically, one of his vocal critics is Arjun Appadurai. This no-confidence vote is largely a symbolic gesture and the Board of Trustees, themselves under fire from the students for questionable investment of school money and connections to the defense industry, have thus far stood by Kerrey.

On December 16, 2008, dozens of students took over the cafeteria in the 65 5th Avenue building; as the occupation continued, the group grew into hundreds of students from the New School, other New York City based universities, labor union members, and other supporters. This evolved into a 30-hour occupation involving hundreds of students, and dozens of police and New School officials. The occupation ended when students accepted a treaty; Kerrey agreed to amnesty, more student space, and more student power in school communications, investments, and decision making.

On April 17, 2005, The New York Times reported that Kerrey was interested in becoming a Democratic candidate for Mayor of New York City, joining such candidates as Fernando Ferrer and C. Virginia Fields in opposing the re-election of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. After much speculation over the potential ramifactions of his entry into the race, Kerrey eventually withdrew his interest in the 2005 mayoral race.

Following the announcement that Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning would challenge incumbent Senator Chuck Hagel in the Republican Primary, Kerrey began to show interest in returning to the Senate. Kerrey had endorsed Hagel had the Senator chosen to run again. On August 23, Kerrey said he believed that Sen. Hagel would retire, and he contacted the board of directors at The New School to inform them of the possibility that he might announce a return to Nebraska to run for the open seat. On September 8, 2007, Republican officials confirmed that Hagel would not run for a third term, heightening speculation that Kerrey would run.

On October 24, 2007 Kerrey announced through a news release that he would not run for the Senate because his family decided that it was "not the time for me to re-enter politics as a candidate".

On December 19, 2007, Kerrey endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination. In doing so, some say he attacked Clinton's rival by mentioning Senator Barack Obama's Muslim family members. Kerrey said, "It's probably not something that appeals to him, but I like the fact that his name is Barack Hussein Obama, and that his father was a Muslim and that his paternal grandmother is a Muslim." He continued, "There's a billion people on the planet that are Muslims, and I think that experience is a big deal." Kerrey later wrote a letter of apology to Obama, saying: "I answered a question about your qualifications to be president in a way that has been interpreted as a backhanded insult of you. I assure you I meant to do just the opposite." Obama has said that he accepted Kerrey's apology.

While he was Governor of Nebraska, Kerrey dated actress Debra Winger while the latter was in Lincoln filming Terms of Endearment (part of which is set in Nebraska), which won the 1983 Oscar for Best Picture. When confronted with intense questioning by the press over the nature of the relationship, Kerrey famously replied; "What can I say – she swept me off my foot," alluding to the fact that the lower part of one of his legs was amputated due to injuries sustained in his Medal of Honor action in Vietnam.

He is the model for the character of Senator Charlie Martin in the book Primary Colors.

He is married to Sarah Paley and lives in New York City. Their son Henry was born a day before the September 11 attacks in 2001. His children from his previous marriage are named Ben and Lindsey.

Kerrey is friends with fellow Vietnam veteran James Webb. In 2006 he became involved in convincing Webb to run for the US Senate. Webb entered the Virginia Democratic Primary, and Kerrey volunteered to serve as Webb's National Finance Chair. Webb went on to win the extremely close election in Virginia, defeating George Allen.

Kerrey has also endorsed, and appeared at campaign events for, Al Franken in his bid for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota.

On September 9, 2008, a pedestrian bridge connecting Omaha, Nebraska with Council Bluffs, Iowa was named in his honor by the Omaha City Council.

John "Bob" Kerrey joined the Board of Directors of Tenet Healthcare Corporation (THC) in 2001 and is currently the second longest serving Board member of that company. In 2001, he exercised stock options he received from THC. Profits from that transaction exceeded $830,000. On January 5, 2009, Mr. Kerrey exercised more stock options and profited more than $13,000.

Tenet Healthcare Corporation was fined $1.7 Billion by the the United States government for a massive Medicare fraud scheme. In November 2002, Jeffery Barbakow, the former CEO of THC resigned in disgrace after the fraud was exposed to the public. Prior to his resignation however, Barbakow exercised stock options that profited him over $111 Million making him the highest paid CEO in AMerica that year. In addition to the fraud conviction, the Tenet-owned hospital in Redding California was closed by the federal government after a whistle-blower discoled that Tenet physicians had routinely performed unecessary cardiac surgeries on edlerly patients in order to qualify for Medicare bonus payments.

The Tenet Shareholder Committee (TSC), a non-profit organization, was formed in an attempt to reform the company. TSC tried to enlist Mr. Kerrey in these efforts but he refused to meet with them. This organization abandoned its efforts in December 2008 after Tenet Healthcare stock fell from its high water mark of $52.50 per share to 99 cents per share in late 2008.

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Source : Wikipedia