08 Jul 2008

Not “A Time to Fight?”

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Marc Ambinder says that Jim Webb will not be forwarding his tax returns to Obama campaign headquarters.

Last week, members of the team gave Sen. James Webb of VA a list of what they needed to begin their investigation of his background and career. Webb refused, telling them that he did not want to be considered for the position.

In a statement today, Webb disclosed that he had “communicated to Senator 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.”

A Democrat close to Webb confirms that a request for documents preceded his declaration to the Obama campaign. The Democrat said that Webb did not want to relive the vigors of a campaign so soon after his election to the Senate.

Webb’s statement suggests that Caroline Kennedy and Eric Holder, the two leaders of the team, had received instructions from Sen. Obama to vet a number of finalists, including Webb.

In general, candidates who are asked to provide information ranging from references to tax returns have been promoted to the next round by the nominee himself. Because the vetting takes lots of time, nominees tend to ask for vets of only those under serious consideration.

This kind of report always leaves more uncertainty than it dispels.

Perhaps Webb is simply being coy, and may yet be persuaded. Or maybe Obama just isn’t inclined to try balancing his ticket with someone so different from the democrat party mainstream as Webb, and Webb is explaining to the press just how sour those grapes really are.

If Jim Webb is so determined not to run for VP, how come he published this May the second personal political manifesto he’s produced in under three years, titled: A Time to Fight?

Personally, I think Webb could help Obama a lot in regions and with constituencies otherwise completely out of reach, but I’m not sure that I believe that they could work together. It would be entertaining though to see the democrat nutroots go ballistic over the choice of Webb, so I’ll be sorry if it doesn’t happen.

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