Bush vs. Webb, round 2

The freshman senator who confronted President Bush face to face on the war in Iraq last month will again rebut the White House before millions of viewers, as Democratic leaders yesterday tapped Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) to deliver their party’s response to the State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Webb will be the second rising Virginian in a row to deliver the Democratic response, following Gov. Tim Kaine (D), who gave the traditional high-profile speech last year. But Webb will bring a unique vantage point on the war as a military expert who served as Navy secretary under President Reagan and did not flinch from challenging Bush to begin troop withdrawal during a visit just after Webb unseated Sen. George Allen (R). 

“As a combat veteran, he understands personally how crucial it is to find a new direction in Iraq and to bring the war to a close,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in a joint statement on Webb’s selection.