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Wednesday, January 11, 2006, Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska), converses with NPR Foreign Correspondent Mike Shuster and Town Hall Los Angeles on the war in Iraq at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in downtown Los Angeles. The senator's program is of significant interest to Town Hall members, who include leaders in the region's political, education, healthcare, defense, and business sectors.

Senator Hagel's event is the first in Town Hall's newest series Meetings of the Mind. The series focuses on leaders of local, national and international relevance by inviting experts and audience members to examine timely issues through conversation.

On August 18, 2005, Senator Hagel became the first Republican U.S. Senator to publicly criticize the Iraq war and to call for a withdrawal. Stating the United States is "getting more and more bogged down in Iraq," Hagel said in U.S. News & World Report that "the White House is completely disconnected from reality" and "the reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

A Vietnam veteran, Hagel was first elected to the Senate in 1996 and re-elected in 2002 with the largest margin of victory in any statewide race in Nebraska history. Senator Hagel's duties include membership on four Senate committees: Foreign Relations, Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Intelligence and Rules. Hagel is Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations International Economic Policy, Export and Trade Promotion Subcommittee and the Senate Banking Securities and Investment Subcommittee. Hagel serves as the Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. In August 2004, Senator Hagel acknowledged that he is considering joining the presidential race in 2008.

Mike Shuster is based in NPR's Los Angeles bureau with the world as his beat. Since 2000, he has reported extensively from the Middle East including Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Israel. Shuster covers issues of nuclear non-proliferation and weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and the Pacific Rim. In 1991, he was assigned to Saudi Arabia to cover the Gulf War. Shuster was a senior Moscow correspondent during the collapse of the Soviet Union, he covered the re-unification of Germany, and has held the positions of Senior Editor of NPR's London and New York Bureaus, and weekend editor of "All Things Considered."

Town Hall Los Angeles is dedicated to furthering civic participation and awareness. Our mission: to inform and inspire people about issues of regional, national and international significance. As a premier, nonpartisan, nonprofit public forum, Town Hall Los Angeles is as forward-looking as the region we serve. Our membership reflects the broader community and our programs, involving today's most influential business and political leaders, promote a vigorous exchange of ideas.