Webb Will Not Play in Veepstakes

Virginia Senator Takes Himself Out of the Running as Obama’s No. 2

Posted July 7, 2008 at 5:26pm

Putting a stop to not-so-subtle rumors, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) has officially taken his name out of the running as a possible vice presidential pick to run alongside the all-but-certain Democratic presidential nominee.

On Monday, Webb released a statement saying that he will work to get Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) into the White House, but he would not do so as his running mate.

“Last week I communicated to Sen. 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. Under no circumstances will I be a candidate for Vice President,” the statement read.

In other presidential developments Monday, Obama announced that he would hold his convention acceptance speech outside of the hall at the Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, which will quadruple his audience to more than 75,000 spectators.

Webb’s name had been widely circulated as part of a short list of potential vice presidential picks for Obama. The Illinois Democrat lacks foreign policy experience and Webb would have beefed up Obama’s résumé in that department both as a Vietnam veteran and a former secretary of the Navy.

Furthermore, Webb would help put in play the southern state of Virginia, which has historically gone Republican in presidential contests. But the state has been trending Democratic in recent elections, with Gov. Tim Kaine (D) winning election in 2005.

Webb bested former governor and then-Sen. George Allen (R) by a single percentage point in 2006.

The news comes as another Virginia Democrat — former Gov. Mark Warner (D) — also took his name out of the veepstakes. Warner is instead vying for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. John Warner (R).

Although they lose a potentially powerful No. 2 on the top of their ticket, Senate Democrats might actually be relieved by the news since it keeps an important Senate seat in Democratic hands. If Obama had chosen Webb to be his running mate, a special election would have occurred to replace him in what would have been a highly competitive race.

Obama continues to remain mum on his search for a vice presidential candidate, but top potential picks include, among others, his colleague who he defeated for the Democratic nod, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Kaine.