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2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign: Jim Webb

Jim Webb is a former Secretary of the Navy, Assistant Secretary of Defense, and Senator from Virginia who was seeking the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential election. Webb was born into a millitary family on February 9, 1946, in Saint Joseph, Missouri, and moved frequently during his upbringing due to his father's career in the Air Force. Webb has a Scottish-Irish backround, and his relatives came to North America in the mid 18th century.

Webb attended the University of Southern California on a Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship for one year, and was then appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1968 and was recognized for outstanding leadership by his superiors. After a stint as a platoon commander during the Vietnam war, Webb returned to the United States and earned his law degree from Georgetown University. Webb has written ten books, the first of which he completed and published while studying at Georgetown.

In 1987 Webb began serving as the Secretary of the Navy, the first Naval Academy graduate to do so. He resigned after a little over one year at the position, after refusing to agree to a size reduction in the amount of Naval vessels. After this, Webb supported himself primarily by writing books, making films, and doing journalistic work. He won an Emmy award in 1983 for his coverage of U.S. Marines in Beirut which aired on PBS. Webb continued to write political commentary even though he had stepped away from being a Washington insider, and wrote a piece in which he referred to Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq as the “greatest strategic blunder in modern memory.”

In February 2006 Webb announced he was running for Virginia's Senate seat as a Democrat. In an election rife with controversy and dirty politics, Webb beat Republican contender George Allen by less than half of 1% of the vote. As a Senator Webb focused on legislation pertaining to veterans affairs, including introducing the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act. In 2007 Webb delivered the Democratic response to President George Bush jr's State of the Union address. He did not seek re-election to his Senate seat in 2012.

Webb believes in marriage equality and in a woman's right to choose, and thinks that we do not need more restrictive firearms regulations. He has been quoted saying that the government should have no say in private matters, and is a large supporter of increasing military funding. Webb has been an outspoken critic of the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 and the final deal that they reached.

On July 2, 2015, Jim Webb formally announced that he would be seeking the Democratic party's nomination for the presidency through a post on his website. During the campaign he consistently polled with support at less than 1%.

After a poor showing at the first debate and failing to meet periodic fundraising goals, on October 20, 2015 Webb announced he was withdrawing his Democratic campaign for the Presidency, but left the door open for a campaign as an Independent. After announcing his withdrawal from the campaign during a press conference Webb was asked whether he still considered himself a Democrat, to which he responded, “We'll think about that.”


U.S. - Israel Relationship

  • “According to Morris Amitay, former director of AIPAC, Webb's voting record on Israel is the “worst [he's] ever seen.”
  • Webb opposed a Senate Resolution expressing support for Israel's Operation Cast Lead against Hamas.

Iran

  • “I just think it’s the wrong time for an agreement like this. I think that the focus on this deal has simply been on a slowing down [of] the potential acquisition of nuclear weapons by┬áIran, and we’ve never been in [this] situation before where we have sort of given a tacit approval for the eventual acquisition of nuclear weapons by another country.”
    (Washington Times, August 25, 2015)
  • “"I think it's a bad deal. We need to put country ahead of party”
    (Weekly Standard, August 10, 2015)
  • “My concern really is that at the bottom line of the agreement, here is what we have. We have Iran having their sanctions lifted, having a number of these other issues with respect to their activities not addressed and having the rest of the region receiving a signal that we, the United States, are accepting the eventuality that they will acquire a nuclear weapon.”
    (Politico, July 15, 2015)
  • “The end result of this could be the acquiesce on Iran building a nuclear weapon. We don't want that. We know our interpretation of the deal. We have seen Iran has its own interpretation, which is another reason why we need to scrub this whole idea. I do not believe that you can have a legally biding international commitment without the full consent of Congress, not the oversight they are offering in this bill”
    (Washington Examiner, May 19, 2015)

Hamas and the Situation in Gaza

  • “I am very concerned about the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Reports from the United Nations and from humanitarian organizations citing lack of access for humanitarian assistance in Gaza are very troubling. We here in the U.S. should be insisting that the situation be rectified immediately and permanently.”
    (Arab American Institute, January 23, 2009)

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

  • Webb opposed a Senate Resolution expressing support for Israel's Operation Cast Lead against Hamas.