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.