huffington post: At one point, Hagel even urged the Arizona Republican to elevate his campaign discourse to a higher, more honest level.
"We know from past campaigns that presidential candidates will say many things," Hagel said of some of McCain's recent rhetoric, namely his policy on talking to Iran. "But once they have the responsibility to govern the country and lead the world, that difference between what they said and what responsibilities they have to fulfill are vastly different. I'm very upset with John with some of the things he's been saying. And I can't get into the psychoanalysis of it. But I believe that John is smarter than some of the things he is saying. He is, he understands it more. John is a man who reads a lot, he's been around the world. I want him to get above that and maybe when he gets into the general election, and becomes the general election candidate he will have a higher-level discourse on these things."
Hagel, speaking to a small gathering at the residence of the Italian ambassador, took umbrage with several positions taken by the McCain campaign, including the Arizona Senator's criticism of Obama for pledging to engage with Iran. Engagement is not, and should not be confused for, capitulation, he argued.
"I never understand how anyone in any realm of civilized discourse could sort through the big issues and challenges and threats and figure out how to deal with those without engaging in some way...."
Hagel then offered a wry tweak of his GOP colleague. "I am confident that if Obama is elected president that is the approach we will take. And my friend John McCain said some other things about that. We'll see, but in my opinion it has to be done. It is essential."
Hagel, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, went on to belittle the tendency for some within his own party to disparage those who tout diplomacy. "You take some risks in talking about this," he said, "especially in the Congress, because you can immediately be branded as an appeaser."
Finally, he charged that if the preeminent foreign policy objective is to achieve security in Israel and stability within the broader Middle East, then the Bush track -- which McCain has endorsed -- is ill-advised.
"If you engage a world power or a rival, it doesn't mean you agree with them or subscribe with what they believe or you support them in any way," he said. "What it does tell you is that you've got a problem you need to resolve. And you've got to understand the other side and the other side has got to understand you."
Much of Hagel's address, hosted by the Ploughshares Fund, was spent weaving between Obama praise and McCain quips. He urged the media, for example, to focus on important policy issues an "not just why Barack [doesn't] wear flag pins on his lapel."
some politics too? mccain is not supporting hagel's GI bill. too much money to spend, mccain says. as a nation we haven't spent enough on our vets and that effects all of us.