October 25th, 2009
02:19 PM ET
13 years ago

Webb gets 'The Last Word'

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democratic Sen. Jim Webb gave the Obama administration a mixed report card Sunday on CNN's State of the Union: questioning the administration's approach to health care reform but praising its approach to the war in Afghanistan.

On health care reform, Webb suggested that President Obama had pursued the wrong strategy to gain passage of Obama's key domestic agenda item during the first year of his presidency.

"That's been the difficulty since day one," Webb said Sunday of the White House's approach, "It's something that I actually said to the White House more than four months ago – that they should have come down with a very clear template in terms of what they were expecting.

"From that, we should have had hearings and the Congress should have legislated. And, having done it the reverse way with these five different bills percolating up through committees, it's really difficult to see even what we are voting for."

On the substance of health care reform, "in an ideal world," said Webb, "we should be looking at not-for-profit insurance companies."

Notwithstanding his differences with the process the White House chose to pursue, Webb told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that he has given his commitment to support Democratic efforts to break any filibuster of the health care reform bill.

"One thing I did say to [Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid] is I will vote to proceed forward to debate," Webb said Sunday.

The Virginia Democrat was quick to add that he had not committed at this point to vote in favor of the final bill "but I think we should have the debate," he said.

On Afghanistan, which has loomed large as one of Obama's top foreign policy issues during his first year, Webb praised the president's deliberative approach.

"The process that this administration is using is, I think, a very proper and smart process," Webb told King.

Webb contrasted Obama's deliberations on Afghanistan with the previous administration's approach.

"If you look at the way the Bush administration maneuvered this country into the war in Iraq, you can see the long term results of bad decision-making," Webb, a Vietnam War veteran, said.

Webb also suggested that Obama should not accept, without any scrutiny or additional input, the reported request for 40,000 additional troops from Gen. Stanley McChrystal's, Obama's top military commander in Afghanistan.

"Gen. McChrystal is one voice," Webb told King before pointing to the extensive military and combat experience of Ret. Gen. Jim Jones, Obama's National Security Adviser.

Despite his mix of criticism and praise for Obama, Webb refused to weigh in Sunday on whether a Democratic loss in the upcoming Virginia gubernatorial race would amount to a referendum on Obama's presidency so far.

"One of the things I learned by being in the Reagan administration is never answer a 'what if' question," Webb told King. That said, the Virginia Democrat pointed to the diversity of demographics and economic circumstances across his state as one reason the election is being so closely watched.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Health care • Jim Webb • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. lou

    BlahBlahBlah, waa,waa,waa. These guys need to get a life and quit ruining America.

    Come 2010 we're going to dump all of them at the polls. Collectively this is the worst group of self-centered, ego tripping babies since the Constitution was ratified.

    If our founding fathers were alive today, they'd hold yet another revolution, but against these patients running the mental institition that is now Congress. America is in DEEEEEP dodo.

    PRAY while we still can.

    October 25, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. Politics of Medicine

    The Political Goal remains the same –to give taxpayer dollars to the big corporations.

    Why don't the Politicians actually care about the health of the Nation and the health of the people?

    Why does the GOP protect investor profit over the health of American People and the American Economy?


    October 25, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. Read the Bill

    In an ideal world then we should have freedom, not government mandates.

    October 25, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  4. Rick

    I voted for Webb but he has done nothing for us.

    October 25, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. C Spurgeon

    This Webb is a good one and i wish he had a bigger role....

    October 25, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. S Callahan

    I think it's funny there is no mention of George S. selling out his journalism creditibility today...and Laura and Al speaking up for the public....come on CNN...where's the story? It was quite a lively discussion and certainly worthy of an article.

    October 25, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. jim

    every president ... and I mean EVERY president ... gets a mixed report card.

    why is this news?

    October 25, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. Dave

    Correct, health care has been a mes and a bunch of political dealings that have nothing to do with improved cheaper health care. Kind of "agenda" for the sake of having an "agenda." It is hard to convince people without real reasoning and trying to short cut debate and shut up opposing views is not going to "really" work!

    October 25, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. They call me "tater salad"

    This clown is doing nothing but promoting Government "foot dragging" to help the Republicans stall and drag this out as long as possible so they can use it as ammo to destroy our President and our country all in the name of winning elections! Any halfwit should be able to figure that out! But, unfortunatly, I live in a country made up of spineless imbeciles!

    October 25, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. bimmer

    Way to go Webb. Webb for 2012. A TRUE PATRIOT.

    October 25, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. Hawk Texas

    Now if the republican's would just quit being stupidly following limbaugh and join rational debate. just maybe we can get health for the masses. the republicans say they are for health care reform yet for the last 17 years they have either voted against it or have never tried to fix it. to the republican's. YOU LIE.

    October 25, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. mike

    the problem with that is the conservatives would have picked apart a clear healthcare bill line buy line until there was no healthcare bill at all they are frustrated that there is no clear bill to pick apart remember there not in there to fix healthcare but to make sure it stays just the same to please the healthcare industry that supports them you think senior citizen can support the republican buy themselves

    October 25, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. Judi from Frisco

    This is what I like about Democrats. They refuse to follow the party line, but they often can come together for the really important stuff. I hope that happens this time. I hope that even if nobody gets everything they want in this bill, Democrats will forge a conpromise that will significantly improve the state of healthcare in this country.

    October 25, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. ggod canada

    if somebody withouy health insurance that can,t afford it say get into acar accident need,s hospital care who pays forit now thats just a example

    October 25, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. JonDie

    From 2001 to 2009, Bush and Cheney invaded Iraq on false pretenses so that Bush and Cheney's corporate sponsors could steal BILLIONS from taxpayers, even as the deficit skyrocketed out of control and at the cost of 50,000+ U.S. soldiers killed or wounded needlessly. Meanwhile Afghanistan slipped away due to a lack of material support for our troops there as well as due to the U.S. having no strategy for Afghanistan.

    Meanhile our economy collapsed, pushing us to the edge of a second Great Depression as Bush and Cheney friends like Wall Street tycoon Bernie Madoff and Ken Lay stole us blind, and the pathetic response to Hurricane Katrina made us look as feeble as Burma.

    And in spite of the delays with the H1N1 vaccine, can anyone imagine how much worse it would be going if John McCain, a guy who doesn't even know what a vaccine is and who thinks the federal government should be abolished so that it doesn't bother anyone, were our president?

    Obama is looking pretty darn good by comparison but he has a lot on his plate...including having to deal with all the hopelessly ignorant Americans who think that the Bush-Cheney years were a golden age.

    October 25, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. Chipster

    It's the Legislative branch's job to write legislation. If Sen. Webb didn't know what President Obama expected and wanted in the health care legislation, he should have paid better attention during the campaign. I believe the President made it very clear what he wanted. If Democratic Senators and House members want to be reelected, they should deliver what the people voted for, what the Obama campaign advocated. If you fail to do that, it may be very difficult to convince voters to turn out for you in the future.

    Sen. Webb, Obama's website is still available, perhaps you should read it.

    October 25, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. Perusing-through


    I had high hopes for Jim Webb when he barely squeaked out a win in 2006 against George Allen for Virginia's U.S. Senate seat. But my views changed as I watched Webb wavier in 2008 in support of his Party's Presidential nominee Barack Obama. During 2008 campaign, Webb had the audacity to insinuate Obama was not doing enough to reach out to Webb's southwest Virginia rednecks. Yet Webb's rednecks publicly acknowledge they would never vote for a Black man. It appears Webb is another Blue Dawg Democrat more concerned about getting re-elected than for the good of the country.

    October 25, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |