July 8th, 2008
09:29 AM ET
6 years ago

Webb says no to being VP

Webb says he does not want to be asked to be the No.2.
Webb says he does not want to be asked to be the No.2.

(CNN) - You can officially scratch off Sen. Jim Webb's name from the list of Barack Obama's potential running mates.

The freshmen senator from Virginia and onetime Republican said unequivocally Monday he does not want to be the Illinois senator's No. 2.

Watch: How to get on the VP shortlist

"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 in an issued statement. “Under no circumstances will I be a candidate for Vice President."

Webb, a moderate Democrat and Vietnam veteran who successfully unseated former Virginia Sen. George Allen in 2006, has often been mentioned as a potential VP choice given his likely appeal in more conservative states, his early opposition to the Iraq war, and his credibility with military issues.

Election Center: Who's on the VP shortlists?

The Virginia senator also co-sponsored the Senate G.I. benefits bill passed this spring that seeks to increase tuition reimbursements for veterans. Despite an initial veto threat, President Bush signed the bill into law last week.

"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 also 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 did not endorse a Democratic candidate during the primary season. Fellow Virginians Tim Kaine, the state’s governor, and Mark Warner, a former governor who is currently running for Senate, were also considered to be on in contention for the VP slot. Warner also took himself out of the running last month.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Jim Webb
June 11th, 2008
10:46 AM ET
6 years ago

Potential VP candidate addresses Confederacy views


Watch Webb's comments on American Morning.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia – someone widely considered to be on the shortlist as a possible running mate with Sen. Barack Obama – again defended his views on the Confederacy during an interview with CNN’s John Roberts.

WATCH what Sen. Webb said

Webb has argued in an essay, his book, and in a 1990 speech that the issue of state sovereignty rather than slavery was the "driving issue" for Confederate soldiers in fighting in the Civil War.

Many historians, however, have argued that slavery, not states’ rights, was the motivating force behind the Civil War.

In his interview with CNN, Webb said his comments about the Confederacy were as a historian dealing with a complex subject.

"Only 5 percent of the whites owned slaves in the height of slavery," Webb said. "The people in the North were never asked to give up their slaves even with the Emancipation Proclamation.

"Looking at military service as a citizen during that time, the issue was loyalty to your community, the same way it is when people are being sent to Iraq today," Webb said. "And that's a complicated issue. It's being obviously simplified in some form but I'm happy to discuss it and comfortable with my views on it."

Webb was criticized for his views on the Confederacy during his Senate run in 2006. Now that Webb’s name is being circulated as a potential running mate, the blogosphere is again raising concerns that Webb may be unacceptable to voters if invited to join the Democratic ticket.

The Virginia Democrat is seen as an attractive complement to Sen. Obama given his opposition to the Iraq war and strong national security credentials. Webb, a Vietnam veteran and a former secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan, however, said during his CNN interview that he was not seeking his party's vice presidential nomination.

Filed under: Jim Webb
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