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Webb Gets Onboard

Tim Craig

In the end, Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) kept his word. But is he admirable or overly cautious?

Webb will get behind Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's presidential bid today and appear with him at a large rally tonight in Prince William County, Democratic officials said last night.

Both Obama, the presumptive nominee, and New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is likely to supsend her campaign this weekend, had courted Webb for an endorsement.

Webb, a former Republican not used to intraparty Democratic battles, resisted pressure to take sides. He has been saying for weeks that he liked both Clinton and Obama so he planned to stay neutral until the nomination fight was settled.

From February 10 until today, Webb had been the only Virginia superdelegate in elective office who had not endorsed either Clinton or Obama.

Clinton and Obama both campaigned for Webb in 2006. Although he was critical of President Clinton in the 1990s, Webb developed a friendship with Senator Clinton in recent years as they worked on issues, he said recently.

Despite being slow in rallying behind Obama, Webb is still expected to get a lot of attention this summer because the pundits and some Democrats are floating him as a potential vice-presidential candidate.

By Tim Craig  |  June 5, 2008; 8:29 AM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Comments

God forbid that somebody should actually keep their word.

Let the criticism flow forth!

Posted by: NoVA | June 5, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I have written Senator Webb to urge him to come out for Obama over the last few months. I also wrote to him in the same notes that I am proud of his service as Senator and that I trusted his judgment on the timing and on the decision.

I'm glad he endorsed Obama and I think it's fine that he stood by what he said he would do on the timing. To me, doing it the day of the Nissan Pavilion rally is actually quite nice timing. It adds a little zing to the event to make some news that's not related to fear of traffic tie-ups.

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | June 5, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I'll vote for an Obama-Webb ticket.

Posted by: McCain supporter | June 5, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

The LA Times reported yesterday that Obama should look for a WHITE MALE. I know the DNC is awfully confident with their candidate, but I do not know anything that would further inflame women more than for the VP slot to be offered to anyone other than Hillary.

Posted by: LonghornMama | June 5, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Regarding late endorsement for Obama.
In the end, Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) kept his word. But is he admirable or overly cautious? Being a southern female, age 64, from a family of die hard democratics and never voting republican, I may have to vote for McCain if Hillary Clinton is not on the democratic ticket. I think with all we have learned about Obama and he may be an outstanding person, we need to be cautious and back him up with a strong "Mother figure" like HRC that will "have his back" when McCain starts his war. A man as VP would not approach the potential President like a woman would with just a word of encouragement that held strong convictions and caution.

Please support Hillary for V.P. and make my grandfather in Heaven proud I don't change polictical parties this year.

Posted by: Myra from Atlanta | June 5, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Wait -- you say that if Hillary is not on the ticket you may vote for McCain, even though you have predicted that McCain will start a war. This is EXACTLY what is wrong with this kind of petty politics -- rather than vote against a man you are convinced will start a war, you are willing to vote for him out of some misguided spite. So because your feelings and Hillary's feelings have been hurt, we should vote for a man who wants to send more American boys off to die? Shame on you.

Posted by: robert | June 5, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Not sure whether this helps advance the conversation re the issue of "Hillary or I'm outta here," (to paraphrase), but I myself am a white middle-aged Southern woman voter and life-long Democrat.

I posted earlier about my past notes to Senator Webb urging him to support Obama.

I would love to see a woman president in my lifetime. I was excited by having a Jewish vice presidential nominee on the ticket a few cycles ago (and I'm not Jewish). I adore having Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. It makes me smile ear to ear every time I see her in that role.

But I do not think Hillary Clinton would have been the right person to move us past the Baby Boomer partisan gridlock of the past 16 years, and would be disappointed to see her as the VP candidate. She and her husband did so well for us during that ugly time in our politics, where it seemed as though Vietnam and the 60s counterculture still lived on in so many politicians' minds. But we are entering a new time with new challenges and opportunities, and I believe Obama and his incredibly well-tooled, well-managed team are just better suited to that new day.

Let's all take a breather, take the time we need, and then unite against McCain and let our nominee choose the VP he thinks is best. He's made a lot of good decisions so far and I have every reason to trust in this one as well.

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | June 5, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"we need to be cautious and back him up with a strong "Mother figure" like HRC"

The only mothering HRC will do is tuck him in at night, so she can get on the phone and make those 3:00 a.m. calls, pushing her own agenda.

Myra, he has an Ivy-League educated wife. Yale doesn't trump Princeton.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

LonghornMama says: "... I do not know anything that would further inflame women more than for the VP slot to be offered to anyone other than Hillary."

He'll offer it if he is certain she will decline. From what I've heard and read, she doesn't want to be VP. She was a de facto VP to her husband (as she obliquely made sure everyone knew in her experience argument). She can do better in terms of power and legacy if she remains in the senate.

That said, she expects it to be offered to her and rightly so.

Posted by: Mary | June 5, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

By the by, I'm not even sure why her supporters would *want* her to play second fiddle. Sounds like they don't understand what being VP means. All you are is a spare tire that goes to funerals, etc. on behalf of the President; you aren't a policymaker (ask Al Gore and any number of former VPs). Hell, she had more power-authority as first lady to Bill during his years -- which is, I suspect, why she doesn't want the post.

The job is only what the President allows it to be, since there's no inhererent power afforded to the position under the Constitution. Further, Obama is not Bush, who ceded plenty of authority to Darth Cheney (to his and the country's detriment).

Posted by: Mary | June 5, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Webb is a coward.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Webb - a coward? Now that's so opposite of the truth it's funny.

Posted by: Stacey | June 5, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Brack should choose HRC because HRC will be a "strong mother figure"! Are you kidding me. First, Barack is too grown for a mother figure! Second, this is not some playhouse thing, this is the future of the country we are talking about. If you are such a feminist you would not even utter or type those words, "voting for McCain". McCain who disregards women and is willing to strip women of their right to choose anything. Please think again. I hope you do heal before the general election because what is at stake is as serious as a heart attack. Believe that!

Posted by: nancy | June 5, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Webb is the perfect balance to Obama. He is a former (Rep). Been in the military. Is against the war. etc etc..

He should be the V.P. nomination. Which is why I think he held off so long on his endorsement. He was waiting (and rightfully so) to see who would be the victor.

If Hillary had won the nomination I would feel the same about Webb as V.P.

If you take race and gender completely off the board you would see this makes all the sense int he world.

Otherwise if you plan for voting for McCain because Hillary lost then it is my opinion your vote is baseless as you obviously are voting BECAUSE of race or gender rather than the critical issues.

If you can follow Hillary then certainly you can follow Obama over McCain. If not, then you're a political pawn without any ideals.

Posted by: walcrowe | June 5, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Fairfax voter: You took the words right out of my mouth. I'm 64, female, a feminist, originally from NY now in Florida, professional and even Jewish. We need new blood, fresh ideas, youth and energy to turn this country around for our kids and grandkids. Hillary has great ideas, she's strong, a role model etc. But she and Bill are "old school" now. We need to reform the Democratic Party. I have to study all the potential VPs but I've heard Jim Webb throughout this process and I am very impressed with him. Nancy, Barack doesn't need a mother figure. He had 2. Besides, HRK doesn't seem very motherly to me. Right now she seems like a spoiled, rotten brat who's throwing a temper tantrum because some got her toy! Walcrow, you're right. This isn't about race, gender or ego. It's about turning this country around. Will McCain do it?????

Posted by: Just Me | June 5, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Myra, best wishes from across the pond. As a lifelong dem, I certainly hope that you don't go the McCain way. But people must do what they think is right. One thing is clear: a McCain presidency will make YOU sadder! Vote the ticket you know is right, even if it does not include Hilary. God bless.

Posted by: cryingoverspiltmilk | June 6, 2008 1:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm not an American but I live in the US. I know that if Obama becomes the president I will end up paying higher taxes than I do now but I still support him. I cant vote of course but in my heart I want Obama to become the president. I was a bit disappointed by his speech at AIPAC pandering to the Israelis but on most of the issues his stand seems to be right.
As an outsider I have a perspective some of you do not have. I think that America is a great country but if continues the way it is, it wont be long before a collapse. I can see the country crumbling. Education needs to be a high priority for any country, but in the US, its defence. You will never need to fight china or russia or if you are sensible even Iran. So stop wasting money on those exotic missile shields and fighter jets.
Health care here is so expensive that its ridiculous! I could travel to India get a tooth extracted and come back and it would cost me less than what it costs here!! That's true. I cant imagine what someone with diabetes or cancer would go through.
Consumerism is another big problem. Stop piling that credit card debt, you don't need that latest car or that 6 bed room house.
The infrastructure is crumbling. If you do not cut the budget deficit you won't have money to spend to the infrastructure.
If you travel abroad you will know that the Image of america is that of a war monger meddling in the issues of sovereign states. You need a serious foreign policy change.
To those who want to vote for McCain just because Hillary did not get the nomination, think about it twice. Its not Obama you are hurting by voting for McCain, you are hurting your kids' future.
How many Harvard educated folks give up a career for community service? Would you give up your job for community service? barack obama did, that must say a lot about the man. Sure he is not perfect and sure he wont get it all right but I'm certain he will try.
And who am i to talk about american politics? Just one concerned global citizen.
There are countries in the world where people would like to give their lives for a chance to vote. Don't waste yours for the sake of vengeance.

Posted by: ash | June 6, 2008 3:00 AM | Report abuse

I am not based in the US, but i will soon be joining my family there. America is lucky to have an amazing guy to run for president. The rest of the world celebrates with him and his supporters for his victory in the primaries. Please, don't let this chance pass by. My country is dying to have an Obama. The rest of the world lost their respect to America since the war in Iraq. This is America's chance to regain that respect.
And to Ms Clinton's supporters, voting for Mc Cain just because Hillary did not get the nomination is senseless and selfish. If you indeed care for America, and if you indeed care for the lives lost due to the war in Iraq, please, think again.I hope you did not support Hillary just because she's female or because she's white.

The different churches and organizations in my country have been praying that may God enlighten the voters of America.For the first time, we care so deeply about your elections because for the first time, there's one candidate who gives us inspiration to believe that Change in possible.

Posted by: irene | June 6, 2008 6:13 AM | Report abuse

As a Virginian by choice, having re-located from PA, where I was born, raised, educated, married, parented and widowed.

Participated in my first ever, 'uncontested' election for Senator in 2000. Shocked and appalled, I wrote my own name in to keep from voting for Republicans Allen and Warner for Senators... I had never, ever seen such a ballot.

My intuition, will not allow me to support Webb as VP. Shades of De Ja Vu, and Cheney too, will not stop my doubt about a 'gun toter' on the Senate Floor. He is too combative for me! His reluctance to endorse until now, shows me a sign to read.

Gov of Kansas Sebelius makes me feel better than Webb.

Posted by: Charlotte in Lynchburg VA | June 6, 2008 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Democrats how much do you want to win?
While most of us are quite familiar with the GOP's Lemming like qualities we tend to overlook the Democrat's similar penchant for cliff diving. Stevenson, McGovern, and Dukakis are prime examples of the left's commitment to ideology over success. McCain will select Lieberman as his VP and run left in a Scoop Jackson posture hoping to siphon off all the embittered Hillary supporters and mythical non-partisan voters. This designates the political battle ground as middle and working class whites in the Midwest, Border, and Inter-Mountain states. Democrats can follow their natural instincts for self immolation and pick Hillary, a party hack like Biden, or the Hillary lite, Kathy Sibelius. However, the golden opportunity is to select a VP who can connect with working and middle class white voters. A deft selection will smash the Reagan big tent and return political landscape to one mirroring the 50's and 60's.
When it comes to the Bubba element of the American political spectrum no one has proven a more eloquent spokesman than Jim Webb. Webb, a legitimate military hero has written with pride about his working class origins and has railed against the Republican penchant for prostituting itself to global corporate interests. If Webb speaks about the nation extricating itself from stupid unproductive conflicts, it will not be automatically be written off as gutless Democrat defeatism. If Webb speaks about economic opportunity, middle and working class whites won't automatically assume it means more quotas, set asides, and abuse of small business owners.
The Republican Party has chosen to commit suicide in 2008, the question remains are there enough eclectic realists left in the Democratic Party to seize the opportunity and dominate the political landscape for many years to come.


Posted by: Fred Harris | June 6, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Delighted to have Senator Webb on board the Obama campaign! I've been waiting for him ever since I read his older book "Born Fighting" He would make a tremendous VP to Obama as President and I am hopeful for this to happen. Whatever he may have said years ago related to women could be quickly set aside if you read his books, where he often refers to the strong women who raised him. He has true American values and only wants the American dream for more Americans and a better world for all its citizens, as does Senator Obama.

Posted by: Grace Needed | June 6, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Obama has an important woman figure in his life, his wife Michelle. I hope that when more women hear her speak and learn about her history they will be much more excited to get behind Obama on feminist grounds. There is no question that Michelle is the boss in the Obama household. She is brilliant, talented, strong, and feminine. Hillary isn't the only woman in the world everybody!

Posted by: Matt | June 6, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse


What Hillary and her supporters do not understand is that threatening Mr Obama weakens their position. I do not see how he can select her. There has been too much public pressure placed on him to chose her. This campaign to get her the Veep position has not been done with the tact that was required for success.

I think he should choose the person that is most allied with his political philosophy. That is the only reason I think Webb is a potential candidate and Clinton is not.

Posted by: G8tr | June 6, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I stand corrected on my original comment about criticism flowing forth.

Except for the one grenade the troll threw which fizzled right away, this has been a thread worth working through.

More should be like this.

Posted by: NoVA | June 6, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Webb could stomach being on the ticket with a brown person.

Posted by: Jamie | June 7, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

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