An unexpected visitor stopped by former Senator Chuck Hagel’s graduate-level government class, “Redefining Geopolitical Relationships,” on Tuesday.
After Hagel challenged his class two weeks before the November elections to predict the outcome in the House and the Senate, he told his students there would be a prize for those who came closest to the election totals.
Considering Hagel’s past political ties, one of his students asked him to set up a meeting with President Obama. Hagel told his students he would consider it.
While the class promptly forgot about Hagel’s promise, Hagel did not. On Tuesday, Hagel invited his former staffer T. J. Birkel to come to class dressed as Obama – armed with the wine he was giving the winner and the two runners-up.
Upon seeing Birkel’s Obama, the entire class burst into laughter.
“This guy was wearing an Obama mask, and everyone thought it was great fun,” Hagel said.
Hagel also gave the winners bottles of Federalist Zinfandel wine in the spirit of the competition.
“At a time when the world is . so tense, so much trouble, I think it’s kind of fun to lighten it up a bit and remind us all we are humans,” Hagel said.
This is not the first time Hagel has used a political face mask to entertain. Hagel made it a tradition while he was in the Senate to wear a mask imitating a fellow public servant every Halloween, posing as Colin Powell, John McCain and Joe Biden through the years. When Powell saw Hagel imitate him a few years ago, he asked Hagel, “Am I really that ugly?”