Arts & Entertainment

Jim Webb, Hollywood's latest military man

Wars and InterventionsUCLAEducationElectionsIraq War (2003-2011)Iraq

FOR A TIME, Hollywood was enamored with former NATO commander and Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark. He was feted at packed Beverly Hills parties every time he breezed through town. But these days, there's a new military man on the radar: Jim Webb, the Democratic senator from Virginia.

Iraq war opponent Webb, who served as secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan, will speak at a UCLA rally Sunday afternoon to support a new GI bill for returning troops, fueling speculation in the entertainment industry that he could be Sen. Barack Obama's vice presidential nominee. (And Hollywood loves to have a say in such matters.)

The list of celebs set to attend the UCLA event -- which gets underway at 2:30 at the UCLA Faculty Center -- looks like an Emmy telecast roster: Sally Field, Felicity Huffman, Lisa Kudrow, William H. Macy, Robin Williams and others.

"Webb isn't the best known of the senators, but he's respected here," said Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman, who hosted a dinner for Webb when he successfully ran against Republican incumbent Sen. George Allen two years ago. "People see him as authentic. He's rugged, tough and independent -- a lot of the things people liked in John McCain."

It also helps that he's penned a few screenplays and a lengthy list of books with movie potential. (He worked with director and friend William Friedkin on "Rules of Engagement" and won an Emmy for his 1983 PBS coverage of the U.S. Marines in Beirut.)

Webb was working on a screenplay with Rob Reiner about an Iraq war veteran before he ran for the Senate. (The project was placed on hold.)

Although Webb says he doesn't want the vice presidency, that hasn't stopped Hollywood from talking. The UCLA event, no doubt, will only intensify the buzz.

As for retired Army Gen. Clark's standing among industry politicos?

"He put all his eggs in the Hillary basket," Bragman said. "And they broke."

Where to get your Clinton fix

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has been on vacation since exiting the presidential race, but those missing her daily campaign excursions, speeches and attempts at singing the national anthem can relive those moments on the Internet.

The video-sharing website Campaign Circus is featuring dozens of Clinton-related clips, including the snippet of her dancing and drinking a bottle of beer while on the campaign trail in Puerto Rico.

The site -- billed as "The Greatest Show Online" -- also has a clip of Obama dancing on Ellen DeGeneres' show. (So far, no video has surfaced of McCain dancing. But stay tuned.)

tina.daunt@latimes.com

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