The Times' Two Favorite Republicans

Senators McCain and Hagel, two of Bush's prominent critics, get a flattering closeup.

Reporter Jeff Zeleny profiled the Times' two favorite Republicans, Sen. Chuck Hagel and Sen. John McCain, in Sunday's "Mavericks Both, but Different Iraq Paths," emphasizing their friendship, their history as soldiers in Vietnam, and their possible race for the 2008 Republican nomination.

Zeleny emphasized that Sen. Hagel of Nebraska, who has gotten years of favorable press by sniping at Bush's Iraq policy for,is "conservative by any measure." (With a lifetime rating of 86 out of 100 from the American Conservative Union, he generally is, though there are many Republicans who are more so.)

Zeleny argued that Hagel "has been a vocal critic of the administration's Iraq strategy since the start," which is a bit different from what the Times said in 2003, when it claimed Hagel was one of the "administration's strongest allies" who was starting to turn on Bush. Zeleny also didn't bring up the fact that Hagel wasn't so "vocal" as to actually vote against the war, which one might have expectedsuch along-time critic to do.