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VP Speculation:
The (Very) Early Jim Webb Edition

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) is having a very good year for a lowly Senate freshman.

Last week, Webb's proposal to extend home leaves for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan appeared so close to winning the 60 votes needed for passage that the White House and Pentagon brass intervened to claw back GOP defectors. This week, Webb is back on the Senate floor promoting another high-profile Iraq measure, to crack down on U.S. civilian contractors in light of alleged abuses.

Politicians know they're on a hot streak when they start showing up on vice-presidential lists, and sure enough, Webb's name has somehow become part of the Democratic mix. It's no big surprise. A political newcomer with strong military credentials, he beat would-be GOP presidential candidate George Allen in the biggest Senate upset of 2006. His approval ratings remain high, and his steady, pragmatic voice in the Iraq debate has only helped to fuel the speculation.

Shrewdly, Webb has cooked up a convincing non-committal response that should keep interest raging for months to come. "I don't know how to answer this question," the senator said, chuckling. "This is like the conundrum, there's no good answer. I'm not in any way actively interested in doing that. I'm really getting my feet on the ground here. We're making a difference. And also, nobody is asking me about it either. There's no way that I'm out here asking to have that position."

--Shailagh Murray

More video from the Webb interview: On the Iraq War.

By Washington Post editors  |  September 27, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
 
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Muted Voices

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