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Ex-Sen. Jim Webb Emerges as Possible Challenger to Hillary

By    |   Thursday, 09 Apr 2015 05:10 PM

The idea of former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., as a replacement candidate, so far, is a mere whisper among Democrats worried that their anointed 2016 White House champion, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is weakening fast in light of her email-deleting scandal.

Webb, former secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan, is cautious when it comes to mentioning the Democratic front-runner's name, but less shy when it comes to blasting Clinton-era policies.

Mentioning the Clinton-backed invasion of Iraq, the Clinton-backed support for the overthrow of Libya's dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, taking potshots at Clinton's claim to be responsible for progress in Myanmar, a role he claims for himself, standing as a supporter of the little guy over Wall Street bankers, Webb is positioning himself as a clear, if unstated, Clinton challenger, Politico notes.

"We really have not had a clear strategic doctrine since the end of the Cold War. I would say particularly since about 1993," the year Bill Clinton took office, Webb stated at a meeting of the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics, without once mentioning the name "Clinton," Politico reports.

Again, without voicing either the Bush or Clinton names, Webb said in March, "What I'm seeing is that there is a leadership fatigue in this country, an incumbent fatigue from both parties," the Huffington Post reported.

Webb, 69, a highly decorated war hero from his Vietnam service, the first Democratic candidate to launch an exploratory committee, is a very different kind of Democrat from Clinton, staking out liberal positions on the economy, military intervention and foreign relations, while hewing to more conservative lines on immigration, the environment, affirmative action, and gun control.

"The anti-war folks will love Jim. The anti-Wall Street folks will love Jim," Steve Jarding, Webb's Senate campaign manager, told CBS News.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll last month found Clinton's massive lead slipping by 15 percent among Democrats, with over a third saying the email scandal has damaged her chances.

Dave "Mudcat" Saunders, a Southern Democrat who is advising Webb, told Real Clear Politics, "Is Hillary Clinton vulnerable? Well, she was invincible in 2008. I thought you could only be invincible one time."

In August, Webb declined to discuss his opposition to Clinton's record during a radio interview, saying it would "take up the whole show," slyly adding, "I think there's time to have that discussion later," CBS News reported.

Webb admits that raising enough money to mount a credible presidential campaign could be a major problem, but said, the Huffington Post reported, "It's not worth it go through this process if you have to sell out what you believe. The question is, can we get the right kind of support in order to get out and make our case to the American people rather than to the financial sector?"

Longtime D.C. journalist Al Hunt told CBS News, "Jim Webb could be Hillary Clinton's worst nightmare."

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The idea of former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., as a replacement candidate, so far, is a mere whisper among Democrats worried that their anointed 2016 White House champion, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is weakening fast in light of her email-deleting scandal.
jim webb, hillary clinton, email, democarts
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2015-10-09
Thursday, 09 Apr 2015 05:10 PM
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