The Maverick On Bush's Short List

Business loves Hagel--even if the GOP doesn't always

In a closed-door strategy session on the second floor of the U.S. Capitol, Republican senators were coldly calculating how to maximize their leverage over the White House. They wanted to hold up passage of the President's top priority: legislation to grant China permanent normal trade relations. The GOP senators sought to delay action until Clinton gave ground on numerous spending bills. But at the mid-June meeting, a persistent dissenter spoke out. Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel argued that the China vote was too important for partisan warfare. The former CEO warned the others that they were playing a "very dangerous" game that could jeopardize support for free trade in America and "further destabilize" U.S. relations with Asia.

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