Chuck Hagel's endorsement of Joe Sestak -- following that of fellow out-of-stater Michael Bloomberg -- will do more for the former senator than for the hopeful one, opines Chris Cillizza in the WashPost:
Dig slightly deeper, however, and it seems clear that Hagel's endorsement is more about his own future political prospects than those of Sestak. The simple fact is that Hagel is virtually unknown in Pennsylvania and his endorsement of Sestak won't even register with most Keystone State voters.
But, endorsing a Democrat in a high profile Senate contest could well help Hagel -- sending a clear signal to the Obama Administration about the very loose ties that he retains to the Republican party.
. . . The simple fact is that Sestak won't gain anything of significant substance from the endorsement; he may get some residual benefit from the perception that Hagel, like Bloomberg, is independent-minded or the expectation-turning that a Republican not backing former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) creates.
On the other hand, there could be genuine benefit for Hagel -- albeit symbolic. Hagel is rightly understood as trying out for a Cabinet job and the more he can show a willingness to put party aside to do what he believes is the right thing, the more attractive he will be to President Obama and his inner circle.
UPDATE: And here's the take from Jeff Zeleny in the NYT.