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Webb Won't Be Vice-Presidential Candidate

Tim Craig

Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) said in a statement today he has told Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, not to consider him as a potential vice-presidential candidate.

"Last week I communicated to Senator Obama and his presidential campaign my firm intention to remain in the United States Senate, where I believe I am best equipped to serve the people of Virginia and this country," Webb said. "Under no circumstances will I be a candidate for Vice President."

Many political observers have mentioned Webb, a former marine and Secretary of the Navy, as being on Obama's short list because of his foreign policy and military credentials. But Webb, who sponsored the new GI Bill that President Bush signed into law last week, said he's happy in the Senate.

"A year and a half ago, the people of Virginia honored me with election to the U.S. Senate. I entered elective politics because of my commitment to strengthen America's national security posture, to promote economic fairness, and to increase government accountability," Webb said. "I have worked hard to deliver upon that commitment, and I am convinced that my efforts and talents toward those ends are best served in the Senate."

Webb's decision to take himself out of the running to join the ticket comes one month after former Virginia governor and U.S. Senate candidate Mark R. Warner (D) made a similar pronouncement.

With Virginia potentially in play this fall, some Democratic strategists were hopeful that Obama could easily snag the state's 13 electoral votes if he added a Virginian to the ticket.

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), who endorsed Obama more than a year ago, has also been mentioned as a potential vice-presidential candidate, even though he lacks foreign policy and military experience.

Kaine has said he plans to complete his term as governor, which doesn't end until 2010, but he has not yet unequivocally ruled out the idea of joining the ticket if asked.

It remains unclear why Webb decided to go public now with his desire not to be considered as a vice-presidential contender.

In his statement, Webb said he will campaign heavily for Obama in Virginia, which has supported the GOP presidential nominee in every election since 1964.

Webb said Obama is "a man who speaks eloquently about our national goals."

"I will gladly campaign for him, said Webb, who only endorsed Obama in early June, after Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY.) abandoned her bid for the Democratic nomination.

By Tim Craig  |  July 7, 2008; 3:15 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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