Senators Weigh In On Presidential Candidates

This story was written by Lia Ganosellis, Independent Florida Alligator
Two U.S. senators shared their views on this year's presidential candidates and the work awaiting the winner during a speech Thursday night.

A crowd of about 200 people listened as former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham asked Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., and Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., a series of questions on the country's future.

Rockefeller expressed support for candidate Barack Obama, who is vying against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

"He came from the bottom up," Rockefeller said.

People seem to discount Obama because of his age and lack of experience compared to his competitors, but that shouldn't be a concern, he said.

While a candidate's knowledge is important, his or her quality as a human being is equally important, Rockefeller said.

Hagel said his pick for president, Republican candidate John McCain, must run against a tide of bad feelings toward his party.

"People aren't happy with Republicans over the past eight years," he said.

When asked how he thought confidence could be restored in the U.S. government, Rockefeller said foreign relations would be an integral part of the process.

"You need to talk to your enemies," he said, referencing Iraq, Iran and Korea. "As you talk to your enemies, you gain intelligence about them."

Hagel said the U.S. focuses too much on its military power.

"Great nations use all their instruments of power," he said, one of which should be diplomatic relations.

Both Rockefeller and Hagel agreed that getting the country back on track would be no easy feat.

"It's going to take a spectacular effort," Hagel said.
© 2008 Independent Florida Alligator via U-WIRE