Chuck Hagel Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

Well, this is just unfortunate:

Speaking at his alma mater, the University of Nebraska (Omaha), Hagel decided to take questions from the audience after his address.

“You’re not a member of the Taliban, are you?” Hagel said to a man in the back. Turns out, he was speaking to Robin Gandhi, an assistant professor who is Indian.

After an awkward pause, likely getting a microphone to the professor, the two men conversed and the slipup wasn’t mentioned.

Hagel needs to stop taking extemporaneous speaking lessons from Joe Biden.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Anderson says:

    We Mississippians are always relieved when it’s some *other* state’s politicians making racist asses of themselves. It’s like we win by not losing.

  2. FaShizzleMyNizzleRizzleDizzleFizzle says:

    Hagel working on bill to send his own PhDs to take jobs away from the Taliban PhDs

  3. Surreal American says:

    That’s sure to get him uninvited to future Friends Of Hamas speaking engagements.


  4. Neil Hudelson says:


    Heh. Yesterday I was looking up obesity rates by states, and had the exact same feeling when Indiana didn’t make the top 10.

  5. Anderson says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Yeah, good luck knocking MS off *that* platform – it’ll take at least you and two or three other states, with a good running start.

  6. Jeremy R says:

    Heh, Dave Weigel was tweeting folks like Buzzfeed last night, trying to get them to drop this, saying it was hugely misleading (that the previous question had been about the Taliban and it was just some goofy riffing off that previous answer before the next questioner was even visible to him). Looks like he had little luck.

  7. Franklin says:

    @Jeremy R: Interesting. As always, context matters.