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Last month, Mr. Hagel said he would consider joining the Obama ticket if offered the vice-presidential nomination, although he said Sunday he didn’t expect such an invitation.

On ABC, Mr. McCain defended a remark in a recent interview in which he appeared to embrace a timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq. He first said he “didn’t use the word timetable.”

When his quote was read back to him, he changed his explanation: “Oh, well, look. Anything is a good timetable that is dictated by conditions on the ground. Anything is good,” he said. “But the timetable is dictated, not by an artificial date, but by the conditions on the ground, the conditions of security.”

He has criticized Mr. Obama for demanding such a timetable. Mr. Obama, in an interview with Newsweek published Saturday, said the way he will determine what forces are left in Iraq will be “entirely conditions-based.”

He previously said he would not leave any combat troops in Iraq.