Chuck Hagel loves to meet the press. Today he said the following to a national television audience.
"But I have no plans to change parties or run for president as an independent."
Later (hedging): "You try to keep as many options open for yourself in life as you can. And you try to be in a position where you've got some opportunities."
"I also have said and said this when I first ran for the Senate after I got elected in 1996 that 12 years, two terms may be enough and that's another option."
"And then if there might be a place for me along the presidential road somewhere to try to have some influence and change the course of this country, then I'll look at that. But the decision needs to be made soon and I'll make it soon."
In May, Hagel said Republican Party had been led astray by some and it might be time for an independent presidential ticket.
To Hagel, the GOP is longer the party of "Eisenhower, of Goldwater, of Reagan," but instead has been hijacked by "single-minded, almost isolationist insulationists, power-projectors."
Hagel was interviewed Sunday on "Meet the Press" on NBC.