Ballot Box

Ex-Sen. Jim Webb ‘seriously looking’ at presidential bid

Former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) said Tuesday that he is “seriously looking” at the possibility of running for president.

Webb is a former Navy secretary and Marine who fought in Vietnam. In comments at the National Press Club, he framed himself as someone able to work with both parties to get things done, and spoke out about the danger of interventions in the Middle East.

“We’ve had a lot of discussion among people that I respect and trust about the future of the country and we are going to continue having these discussions over the next four or five months,” Webb said when asked about running for president in a question-and-answer session after his speech.

{mosads}”And I’m seriously looking at the possibility of running for president. But we want to see if there’s a support base from people who would support the programs that we’re interested in pursuing,” he said.

Webb campaigned last month in Iowa for the Senate bid of Rep. Bruce Braley (D), a move seen as inching toward a presidential run, but he has not been included in most early presidential polls.

There has been some speculation that Webb could run as an independent, but he indicated that if he enters the race it will be as a Democrat.

“The answer is I’m a Democrat,” he said. “I have strong reasons for being a Democrat. Basically if you want true fairness in society, you want to give a voice in the corridors of power for the people who otherwise would not have it, I believe that will come from the Democratic Party. And we’re taking a hard look, and we’ll get back to you in a few months.”

Asked about Hillary Clinton, the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination if she runs, and whether she is responsible for the foreign policy missteps Webb cited, he demurred.

“I’m not here to undermine her,” he said. “I’m here just to explain where my concerns are as someone whose been involved in military and foreign policy all of my life.”

Asked about President Obama’s decision to launch strikes against Sunni militants in Syria, Webb said “I would say that is legal. That is legal.”

But he then added: “The question of judgment would remain to be seen.”

“We have to deal with our national security in a way that makes sure that we do not get entangled on the ground again,” he said.

Webb portrayed himself as a bipartisan leader by praising both Franklin Roosevelt, a liberal hero, and Ronald Reagan, a conservative, as able to get things done in Washington.

“Ronald Reagan came in, he was a leader, some of my Democratic friends don’t like it when I say that,” Webb said. “He had a vision where he wanted to take the country and things started moving again.”

Webb expressed mixed feelings about the Affordable Care Act, saying that he voted with Republicans 18 times on amendments to try to improve the bill.

He said it needs to be changed, but “I don’t regret voting in favor of it.” 

Tags Bruce Braley Hillary Clinton

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