Webb says thanks but no thanks

Sen. Jim Webb, a rising star in Democratic politics, pulled the plug Monday on speculation that he might be Barack Obama’s running mate.

A Virginia Democrat elected in 2006, Webb was considered attractive as a potential vice presidential nominee because his resume is strong where Obama’s is weak: on national security issues. Webb served as secretary of the Navy under President Reagan and is a decorated former Marine. He also carries the added appeal of coming from a Southern state that Obama hopes to contest.

But Webb said he told Obama last week: “Under no circumstances will I be a candidate for vice president.”

In a statement, Webb said he wanted to use his “efforts and talents” in the Senate to work for such issues as the expansion of education benefits for veterans recently enacted by Congress with his prodding. But he also promised to “proudly campaign” for the Illinois senator.


Webb is not the first to take himself out of contention for Obama’s No. 2. Last month, Ted Strickland, the governor of Ohio, said that he would not accept the nomination.

Strickland’s popularity in Ohio, an important battleground state, had led to speculation that he would be a smart choice for the ticket. Strickland had supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in the primaries.

-- Janet Hook