Webb Takes Himself Out of the VP Running
By Jonathan Weisman
Virginia Sen. Jim Webb took himself out of contention for the vice presidency today, releasing a statement saying he intends to stay in the Senate and "under no circumstances" would he be Sen. Barack Obama's running mate.
"At this time I am also renewing my commitment to work hard to make sure that Senator Obama wins both Virginia and the presidency this November. He is a man who speaks eloquently about our national goals and calls for the practical solutions that must be put into place to obtain them. I will proudly campaign for him," Webb said in a statement.
But, he said, he had contacted the Obama campaign last week to make sure he is not being considered for the vice presidential slot.
"Under no circumstances will I be a candidate for Vice President," he said.
Webb has been high on the list of possible running mates for Obama. As a former Marine combat veteran in Vietnam and one-time secretary of the Navy, he would lend the ticket military strength and foreign policy acumen. Since joining Democratic politics, Webb has become a leading voice for a tough-minded Democratic politics aimed at rural and working class southerners who have abandoned the party over the last four decades. Political predictions markets have had him at or near the top of running mate betting for weeks.
But Webb had his liabilities. As Obama continues to mend relations with women voters angry over Hillary Rodham Clinton's defeat, the choice of a running mate with loose ties to the Tailhook sexual harassment scandal may have been problematic. Webb has also been accused of sexual insensitivity stemming from some graphic scenes in his novels, writings that Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) tried to exploit his his failed re-election bid against Webb in 2006.
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