header graphic for sen. jim webb

- ended campaign for Democratic nomination on Oct. 20, 2015...ruled out independent run on Feb. 11, 2016 -   




Jim Webb 2016

IHeardMyCountryCalling  @JimWebbUSA
Jim Webb

Born Fighting PAC

Conventional Wisdom

- Not a conventional politician; has an independent, maverick outlook; as a former Republican has potential to appeal to independents and conservatives.
- Military experience (officer in Vietnam, staffer on Capitol Hill, and during the Reagan administration) could be a major asset in a time of multiple international crises.

- Veterans, particluarly Vietnam veterans, could form a base of support.
- An intriguing figure, not too well know nationally and has an interesting story to tell including distinguished military record, best-selling author, writer and executive producer of a major film, speaks Vietnamese.

- Scots-Irish temperament (see for example resignation as Secretary of the Navy or involvement in Vietnam War Memorial).
- Not a natural politician; might have trouble fulfilling fundraising and glad-handing demands seemingly required of a 21st century presidential candidate and
can be a bit wooden in speaking.
- Twice-divorced.

Notes, Coverage and Speeches

Sept. 23, 2014 - National Press Club.

2016 - Webb ruled out an independent run in a speech to the Dallas World Affairs Council on Feb. 11, 2016, citing the difficulty in financing such an effort.

- Former
Sen. Jim Webb's campaign got off to a very slow start.  On January 3 Webb underwent full knee replacement surgery, brought about by shrapnel wounds he sustained in Vietnam, and he kept a low profile through January and February.  In March he began to do speeches and media appearances.  On July 2, after seven and a half months as an exploratory candidate, Webb announced his candidacy in an email (+), offering "a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us" and "proven, experienced leadership."  However, Webb's efforts seemed curiously detached.  As Fall approached he had made scattered visits to Iowa, but had done little in the other early states, did not seem to be building a credible campaign organization, and came across as a disinterested candidate running a quiescent campaign.  The first debate on October 13 offered an opportunity for Webb to change the dynamic, but he was accorded the least speaking time of the five candidates on the stage.

On Oct. 20, speaking to a room full of reporters at the National Press Club, Webb announced he was "withdrawing from any consideration of being the Democratic Party's nominee for the Presidency."  "I am not going away.  I am thinking through all of my options," Webb stated (+).  He said he is considering and independent candidacy and would talk with people from all sides of the political spectrum in the coming weeks.  Webb started off his remarks comparing himself to a square peg in a round hole.  While an independent campaign could flourish in today's anti-politician environment, any success would depend on a more engaged candidate.

- After finishing his Senate term in January 2013, former Sen. Jim Webb kept out of the spotlight until May 2014 when his book I Heard My Country Calling was published.  In a June 3 letter posted on his PAC website (+), Webb wrote of "the pervasive lack of vision, courage and practical problem-solving at the national level."  "We are suffering from a leadership deficit," he stated.  In a Sept. 23 speech at the National Press Club Webb said he was
"seriously looking at the possibility" of seeking the Democratic nomination.  Unlike other potential candidates, Webb did not do much in the way of politicking during the midterm elections.  In August he visited Iowa, and in October he made a low-key visit to New Hampshire; however, his PAC made no contributions to candidates or independent expenditures on behalf of candidates.

On Nov. 19, 2014, Webb became the first major candidate of either major party to take a formal step toward entering the 2016 presidential race, announcing via video formation of an exploratory committee (+).  He asked, "Is it possible that our next President could actually lay out a vision for the country, and create an environment where leaders from both parties and from all philosophies would feel compelled to work together for the good of the country, despite all of the money and political pressure that now demands they disagree?"  Webb appealed to independent-minded Democrats, putting income inequality and economic fairness at the center of his appeal.  At the same time he touched on a theme commonly invoked by Republicans, the notion of America as an exceptional (or as he put it "unique") nation.  In closing, Webb declared that, "Results can be obtained, even in a paralyzed political environment;" indeed he went further to state that, "[W]e can un-paralyze the environment and re-establish a transparent, functioning governmental system." 

In the closing month-plus of the year following his announcement, Webb did not do much to raise his profile.  For example, at year's end America Rising, the Republican opposition research group, did not even list him as a candidate.

James Webb.  May 20, 2014.  I HEARD MY COUNTRY CALLING: A Memoir.  New York: Simon & Schuster.
"James Webb...has written an extraordinary memoir of his early years, 'a love story—love of family, love of country, love of service,' in his words.  Webb’s mother grew up in the poverty-stricken cotton fields of Eastern Arkansas. His father and life-time hero was the first of many generations of Webbs, whose roots are in Appalachia, to finish high school. He flew bombers in World War II, cargo planes in the Berlin Airlift, graduated from college in middle age, and became an expert in the nation’s most advanced weaponry.  Webb’s account of his childhood is a tremendous American saga as the family endures the constant moves and challenges of the rarely examined Post-World War II military...  His account of his four years at Annapolis are painfully honest but in the end triumphant. His description of Vietnam’s most brutal battlefields breaks new literary ground."

James Webb.  May 19, 2008.  A TIME TO FIGHT: Reclaiming a Fair and Just America.  New York: Broadway.
"Through vivid personal narratives of the struggles members of his family faced, and citing the courageous actions of presidents ranging from Andrew Jackson to Teddy Roosevelt to Dwight Eisenhower, A Time to Fight provides specific, viable ideas for restoring fairness to our economic system, correcting the direction of national security efforts, ending America’s military occupation of Iraq, and developing greater government accountability.

intial website
Nov. 2014-mid-Mar. 2015

second iteration
mid-Mar. to late-May 2015

  this page last revised February 11, 2016
pre-campaign edition of this page