Over the weekend, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) visited Iraq, his fifth visit to the country. He held a press conference yesterday where he reminded reporters that the U.S. commitment was never intended to be “open-ended,” adding, “We can’t continue to stay in Iraq the way we are.”
Hagel also took a jab at the recent trip by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), stating, “We did no shopping while we were here.” Watch it:
In a press conference after his Baghdad tour, McCain told a reporter that his visit to the market was proof that you could indeed “walk freely” in some areas of Baghdad. Graham noted that he “bought five rugs for five bucks” and Pence said the Shorja market “was just like any open-air market in Indiana in the summertime.”
CNN’s John Roberts summed up Hagel’s dig at McCain: “I didn’t go to the Shorja market with 100 soldiers around me and helicopters overhead and snipers on the roof.”
BLITZER: Sen. Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska. He’s in Iraq right now. He had a news conference in Baghdad. He’s a big critic of the President’s strategy in Iraq. Listen to this dig he gave Sen. McCain. Listen to this.
[HAGEL CLIP]: We did no shopping while we were here. I think, my assessment, as I noted on my fifth trip, is that Iraq still has great challenges ahead of it.
BLITZER: The reference to “no shopping” clearly aimed at Sen. McCain.
ROBERTS: I didn’t go to the Shorja market with 100 soldiers around me and helicopters overhead and snipers on the roof.