Military Wiki
Jim Webb
United States Senator
from Virginia

In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by George Allen
Succeeded by Tim Kaine
United States Secretary of the Navy

In office
May 1, 1987 – February 23, 1988
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by John Lehman
Succeeded by William Ball
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs

In office
May 3, 1984 – April 10, 1987
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Stephen Duncan
Personal details
Born James Henry Webb, Jr.
February 9, 1946(1946-02-09) (age 76)
St. Joseph, Missouri, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Barbara Samorajczyk (1968–1979)
Jo Ann Krukar (1981–2006)
Hong Le Webb (2006–present)
Children Amy
Emily (Stepchild)
Alma mater University of Southern California
United States Naval Academy
Georgetown University
Religion Nondenominational Christianity
Signature Jim Webb's signature
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch USMC logo.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1968–1972
Rank US-O2 insignia.svg First Lieutenant
Unit Delta Company
1st Battalion 5th Marines
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Navy Cross
Silver Star
Bronze Star (2)
Purple Heart (2)

James Henry "Jim" Webb, Jr. (born February 9, 1946) is a former United States Senator from Virginia. He is also an author and a former Secretary of the Navy. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

A 1968 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Webb served as a Marine Corps infantry officer until 1972, and is a highly decorated Vietnam War combat veteran. During his four years with the Reagan administration, Webb served as the first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, then as Secretary of the Navy.

Webb won the Democratic nomination for the 2006 Virginia Senate race by defeating Harris Miller in the primary, then won the general election by defeating the Republican incumbent George Allen. Webb's thin margin in the general election (less than 0.5%) kept the outcome uncertain for nearly two days after polls closed on November 7, 2006, and provided the final seat that tilted the Senate to Democratic control. On his sixty-fifth birthday, he announced that he would not seek re-election in 2012, saying that he did not want to spend his whole life in politics, and that he wanted to return to the private sector.

Webb is also an author of many books, stating that "I've written for a living all my life, so writing is as much a part of me as working out."[1]

Life and career

Early life

Webb was born in Saint Joseph, Missouri, to James Henry Webb, and his wife, Vera Lorraine (Hodges).[2] He grew up in a military family. Webb is descended from Scots-Irish immigrants from Ulster who emigrated in the 18th century to the British North American colonies. Webb's 2004 book Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America details his family history, noting that his ancestors fought in every major American war.

Webb's father, a career officer in the U.S. Air Force, flew B-17s and B-29s during World War II, and dropped cargo during the Berlin Airlift. After developing an inner ear disorder, Meniere's Disease, which grounded him as a pilot, he became a pioneer in the Air Force missile programs. He later served as the Commanding Officer of the 1001st Missile Squadron at Vandenberg Air Force Base. He is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery.


Due to his father's military career, Webb grew up on the move, attending more than a dozen schools across the U.S. and in England. After graduating from high school in Bellevue, Nebraska, he attended the University of Southern California on a Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship from 1963 to 1964 (and was a member of Delta Chi). In 1964, Webb earned appointment to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. At Annapolis, Webb was a member of the Brigade Honor Committee. He also won a varsity letter for boxing, at one point fighting a match against Oliver North, which was won by North on decision. He graduated in 1968, in the same class with North, Dennis C. Blair, Michael Mullen, Charles Bolden and Michael Hagee.

Personal life

Webb has been married three times, has four grown children, as well as a young child with his current wife Hong Le, and is stepfather to Le's daughter Emily from a previous marriage.[3]

His first marriage was to Barbara Samorajczyk, a member of the Anne Arundel County, Maryland Council. They divorced in 1979. They have one daughter, Amy Webb Hogan, who was eight at the time of the divorce. (His daughter, Amy, is not the same as this Amy Webb.) [4]

His second marriage was to health-care lobbyist Jo Ann Krukar in 1981[4] who also assisted in his 2006 Senate campaign. They have three children: Sarah, Jimmy, and Julia. Jimmy Webb is a rifleman and Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, and served a tour in Iraq with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion 6th Marines.[5][6] In tribute to Jimmy Webb and "all the people sent into harm's way", Webb wore his son's old combat boots every day during his 2006 Senate campaign.[7]

Webb is married to Hong Le Webb, a Vietnamese-American securities and corporate lawyer, twenty-two years his junior. Hong Le Webb was born in South Vietnam and escaped to the United States when she was seven after the fall of Saigon. She grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. They first met in 1994 and started dating in 2002 when both were separated from their previous spouses. They married in October 2006.[8] Hong Le and Jim Webb have one child together, Georgia LeAnh, born December 2006. Hong Le Webb also has a daughter from a previous marriage.[3] Jim Webb speaks Vietnamese.[9]

Military service

After graduating from Annapolis, Webb was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. As a first lieutenant during the Vietnam War he served as a platoon commander with Delta Company, 1st Battalion 5th Marines. He earned a Navy Cross, the second highest decoration in the Navy and Marine Corps for heroism in Vietnam. Webb also earned the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts.[10]

Awards and decorations

Known decorations and medals include:

Gold star
Gold star
Navy Cross Silver Star Bronze Star Purple Heart

Webb received the Navy Cross for actions on July 10, 1969. The citation read:

The Navy Cross is presented to James H. Webb, Jr., First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as a Platoon Commander with Company D, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On July 10, 1969, while participating in a company-sized search and destroy operation deep in hostile territory, First Lieutenant Webb's platoon discovered a well-camouflaged bunker complex that appeared to be unoccupied. Deploying his men into defensive positions, First Lieutenant Webb was advancing to the first bunker when three enemy soldiers armed with hand grenades jumped out. Reacting instantly, he grabbed the closest man and, brandishing his .45 caliber pistol at the others, apprehended all three of the soldiers. Accompanied by one of his men, he then approached the second bunker and called for the enemy to surrender. When the hostile soldiers failed to answer him and threw a grenade that detonated dangerously close to him, First Lieutenant Webb detonated a claymore mine in the bunker aperture, accounting for two enemy casualties and disclosing the entrance to a tunnel. Despite the smoke and debris from the explosion and the possibility of enemy soldiers hiding in the tunnel, he then conducted a thorough search that yielded several items of equipment and numerous documents containing valuable intelligence data. Continuing the assault, he approached a third bunker and was preparing to fire into it when the enemy threw another grenade. Observing the grenade land dangerously close to his companion, First Lieutenant Webb simultaneously fired his weapon at the enemy, pushed the Marine away from the grenade, and shielded him from the explosion with his own body. Although sustaining painful fragmentation wounds from the explosion, he managed to throw a grenade into the aperture and completely destroy the remaining bunker. By his courage, aggressive leadership, and selfless devotion to duty, First Lieutenant Webb upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.[11]

In a November 19, 2006 appearance on Meet the Press, Webb told host Tim Russert, "I’m one of these people who – there aren’t many of us – who can still justify for you the reasons that we went into Vietnam, however screwed up the strategy got."[12]

Post-military career

James Webb as Assistant Secretary of Defense, 1984.

Webb attended Georgetown Law Center from 1972 to 1975, graduating with a Juris Doctor degree. While at Georgetown, Webb wrote his first book, Micronesia and U.S. Pacific Strategy.[13]

From 1977 to 1981, Webb worked on the staff of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. During this time, he also represented veterans pro-bono. Webb also taught at the Naval Academy and was criticized for a 1979 article published in the Washingtonian titled "Women Can't Fight"[14] (see "Senate Election" below).

During the Reagan Administration, Webb served as the nation's first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs from 1984 to 1987. During his time as Assistant Secretary, Webb sought to reorganize the Marine Corps. He was gravely concerned with the disarray the Marines had fallen into post-Vietnam: drug use, racial infighting, and low morale within the Corps left him with the impression it was no longer America's premier fighting force. The Marine Corps was also rocked by two scandals during this time: the Clayton Lonetree espionage affair, where Lonetree became the first Marine convicted of espionage, and Marine Lt. Colonel Oliver North's central role in the Iran-Contra affair.

In 1987, he served as Secretary of the Navy, becoming the first Naval Academy graduate to serve as the civilian head of the Navy. As Navy Secretary, Webb pushed the appointment of Alfred M. Gray, Jr. as Commandant of the Marine Corps, hoping that Gray could reshape the Corps into the elite unit it once was.[15] Webb resigned in 1988 after refusing to agree to reduce the size of the Navy. Webb had wished to increase the Navy to 600 ships. As revealed in The Reagan Diaries, President Ronald Reagan wrote on February 22, 1988: "I don't think Navy was sorry to see him go."[16]

After his resignation, Webb earned his living primarily as an author and filmmaker. He won an Emmy Award for his 1983 PBS coverage of the U.S. Marines in Beirut.

Among Webb's awards for community service and professional excellence are the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the Medal of Honor Society's Patriot Award, the American Legion National Commander's Public Service Award, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Media Service Award, the Marine Corps League's Military Order of the Iron Mike Award, the John H. Russell Leadership Award, and the Robert L. Denig Distinguished Service Award

In a 1990 New York Times opinion piece, Webb opposed further U.S. military escalation in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield citing lack of a coherent strategy and consent from the United States Congress. He also warned against a permanent military presence in the Middle East.[17] Seven months before the beginning of the 2003 Iraq War, Webb wrote an essay for the Washington Post in which he

questioned whether an overthrow of Saddam would “actually increase our ability to win the war against international terrorism” and pointed out that the measure of military success can be preventing wars and well as fighting them. He charged, “those who are pushing for a unilateral war in Iraq know full well that there is no exit strategy if we invade.” He concluded, “the Iraqis are a multiethnic people filled with competing factions who in many cases would view a U.S. occupation as infidels invading the cradle of Islam. … In Japan, American occupation forces quickly became 50,000 friends. In Iraq, they would quickly become 50,000 terrorist targets.”[18]

During the 2004 presidential campaign, Webb wrote an op-ed piece for USA Today in which he, as a military veteran, evaluated the candidacies of John Kerry and George W. Bush. He criticized Kerry for the nature of his opposition to the Vietnam War in the 1970s while affiliated with the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and accused Bush of using his father's connections to avoid service in Vietnam. Webb also wrote that Bush had "committed the greatest strategic blunder in modern memory" with the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[19]

Webb supported Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey's campaign for the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination.[10] He endorsed incumbent Democrat Charles Robb for reelection to his Senate seat, over Webb's former Naval Academy classmate and fellow Marine Oliver North, in 1994.[20] Webb subsequently endorsed Republican George Allen over Robb in 2000,[21] and then ran against Allen himself in 2006.

United States Senate

2006 Senate campaign

Painting of Webb

In late 2005, a campaign to draft Webb to run for the Senate in 2006 began on the internet, promoted by netroots activists such as those at the blog Raising Kaine. On February 7, 2006, he announced that he would seek the Democratic nomination for the 2006 Senate race against incumbent Virginia Senator George Allen.[22]

In the Democratic primary on June 13, 2006, Webb faced longtime businessman and lobbyist Harris Miller. Webb won with 53.5% of the vote, in a race with low turnout.[23]

Webb benefited from the fallout from an August 11, 2006 incident in which Allen used the word macaca to refer to S.R. Sidarth, who was filming an event as a "tracker" for the Webb campaign. A poll the following week showed Webb gaining 10 percentage points. The race, which at one point looked like a sure win for Allen, became one of the most watched and closest races of the 2006 elections.

Allen had been expected to be reelected relatively easily, and that this reelection would prepare him for a possible 2008 Presidential candidacy. But Webb's entry into the race and primary victory changed the political landscape. Political analyst Larry Sabato said in May that "Jim Webb is George Allen's worst nightmare: a war hero and a Reagan appointee who holds moderate positions… Allen tries to project a Reagan aura, but Webb already has it."[24] In September,'s Catherine Dodge wrote an article highlighting Webb and the Senate race, and said "Webb isn't a typical Democrat. His family hails from the rural southern part of the state. He's pro-gun ownership, and he takes a harder line on illegal immigration than many Senate Republicans."[25]

On September 7, 2006, Webb released his first television advertisement, which included footage of a 1985 speech by Ronald Reagan that praised Webb's service as a Marine.[26] The next day, the Chief of Staff for the Reagan Library wrote Webb's campaign on behalf of former first lady Nancy Reagan, urging them not to air the advertisement saying it was neither fair nor respectful because it gave the impression of an endorsement.[27][28] The Webb campaign disagreed, saying, "What Reagan said about Jim Webb, that belongs to Jim Webb, frankly."[27] The library said they ask all candidates to refrain from using the former president's image but declined to say if they would request the Allen campaign to remove the image of Reagan used on his campaign website.[27]

Five female graduates of the United States Naval Academy held a press conference, decrying a 1979 article by Webb, titled "Women Can't Fight."[29] The women said Webb's article contributed to an atmosphere of hostility and harassment towards women at the academy. Webb was later endorsed by nine military women who stated that Webb is a "man of integrity" who "recognizes the crucial role that women have in the military today."[30]

In October 2006, the Allen campaign issued a press release quoting several passages from Webb's novels with sexual content, including graphic references to female anatomy and purported pedophilia, homosexuality and incest, citing a passage in which a Southeast Asian father ritually places the penis of his young son in his mouth. The press release said that the passages showed a "continued pattern of demeaning women".[31] Allen's campaign refused to tell a local radio news station, WTOP-FM, whether it in fact had issued a news release on the matter.[32]

On November 9, 2006, after AP and Reuters projected that Webb had won the seat, Allen conceded the election. Although the margin was narrow – less than half of 1% of the total vote and therefore small enough under Virginia law to allow demanding a recount – Allen stated that he would not challenge the result.

Webb, as a Democratic veteran challenger, was also considered one of the Fighting Dems.


On November 15, 2006, Senate majority leader in waiting Harry Reid assigned Webb to three committees: the committees on Foreign Relations, Veterans' Affairs, and Armed Services.[33]

That same day, an op ed authored by Webb appeared in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. Titled "Class Struggle," the piece addressed what Webb feels is a growing economic inequality in the United States, touching on what he feels are overly permissive immigration policies, extravagant executive compensation, the detrimental effects of free trade and globalization, iniquitous tax cuts, and speedily rising health care costs, and attacking the "elites" who he says perpetuate the aforementioned woes for their personal economic gain.[34]

Tense exchange with President Bush

On November 28, 2006, at a White House reception for those newly elected to Congress, Webb declined to stand in the line to have his picture taken with the president, whom Webb often criticized during the campaign. The president approached Webb later and asked him, "How's your boy?", referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq. Webb replied "I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President." Bush responded, "That's not what I asked you. How's your boy?" Webb responded, "That's between me and my boy, Mr. President." The Hill cited an anonymous source who claimed that Webb was so angered by the exchange that he confessed he was tempted to "slug" the president.[35] Webb later remarked in an interview, "I'm not particularly interested in having a picture of me and George W. Bush on my wall."[36]

In response to the incident, some conservatives criticized Webb, including George Will, who called Webb a "boor" and wrote, "[Webb] already has become what Washington did not need another of, a subtraction from the city's civility and clear speaking."[37][38] Others, such as conservative columnist and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, reserved their criticism for Bush, writing: "I thought it had the sound of the rattling little aggressions of our day, but not on Mr. Webb's side."[39]

Jim Webb with son Jimmy and George W. Bush in March, 2008

Webb was asked about the exchange in a January 4, 2007 appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews. He told Matthews:

"My feeling about that – first of all, it's been kind of a bit overblown. But I think when people are now seeing how John McCain is handling the situation with his son being in the Marine Corps, perhaps they can understand a little bit more what I was having to go through during the entire campaign. I greatly respect my son‘s service and all of the people who are serving. At the same time, I have not commented, even to many of my friends, about the operational side. That‘s personal to me in terms of my feelings about it. And it was not a casual comment. As I said in the piece that you just ran, I think the best article that was written on that was by Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal when she basically said that the lack of civility was not mine and I feel that way."[40]

After his son returned from Iraq, Webb "buried the hatchet" with the president by setting up a private chat with his son, the president, and himself in the Oval Office.[41]

110th Congress

On January 4, 2007, Webb was sworn into the 110th U.S. Senate, accompanied by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., a fellow former Secretary of the Navy; and former Virginia Democratic Sen. Charles Robb.

Jim Webb

Webb's first legislative act was to introduce a bill, the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act, to expand benefits for military families. The act replaces key provisions of the Montgomery G.I. Bill for recent veterans and “makes veterans benefits identical to those soldiers received following World War II.” “With many of our military members serving two or three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is past time to enact a new veterans’ education program modeled on the World War II era G.I. bill. This is exactly what our legislation does.” Webb said. It became law on June 30, 2008, as part of the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2008.

In a January 4, 2007, appearance on The Situation Room, Webb articulated his position on the Iraq War: "What we really need to do is to get into the arena where we can talk about a strategy, talk about the pluses and the minuses of the Baker-Hamilton Commission and work toward a solution that, on the one hand, will allow us to remove our combat troops, but on the other, will increase the stability of the region, allow us to continue to fight against international terrorism and allow us, as a nation, to address our strategic interests around the world. And this is – this is one of the drawbacks that we've had with so many troops having been put into this constant rotational basis inside one country when we have a war against international terrorism that's global."

Asked by Wolf Blitzer if he would ever support the efforts of Dennis Kucinich to cut funding for the war, Webb said, "I – you know, I lived through Vietnam. I lived through it as a Marine and I know that those sorts of approaches, while they seem attractive on one level are really not that realistic. What we want to do – and I was talking with a number of senators today – is to try to get some of these so-called emergency legislation packages back into the committee process so that the committees can actually play."[42]

On January 23, 2007, Webb delivered the Democratic response to the President's State of the Union address, focusing on the economy and Iraq.[43] Webb's speech drew positive reviews, and was regarded as one of the stronger State of the Union responses in recent memory.[44] Webb, a decorated war veteran spoke of his family's military past, his own passionate attachment to the military, and the way in which previous presidents had always attempted to ensure that all precautions had been taken when sending young Americans into harm's way.

On March 5, 2007, Webb introduced his second piece of legislation, S. 759, intended to prohibit the use of funds for military operations in Iran without the prior approval of Congress. In a statement on the floor of the Senate, Webb said, "The major function of this legislation is to prevent this Administration from commencing unprovoked military activities against Iran without the approval of the Congress. The legislation accomplishes this goal through the proper constitutional process of prohibiting all funding for such an endeavor."[45]

On March 26, 2007, a senatorial aide of Webb, Phillip Thompson, was arrested for carrying Webb's loaded pistol as he entered the Russell Senate Office Building and for carrying unregistered ammunition. The weapon was discovered when Thompson went through an X-ray machine with a briefcase that contained a loaded pistol and two additional loaded magazines.[46] Charges against the aide were dismissed after prosecutors concluded it could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Thompson was aware that the gun and ammunition were in the briefcase.[47] Webb responded to his aide's arrest by reiterating his support for gun-owners' rights:

"I’m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment; I have had a permit to carry a weapon in Virginia for a long time; I believe that it’s important; it’s important to me personally and to a lot of people in the situation that I’m in to be able to defend myself and my family."[48]

2009 visit to Southeast Asia

On August 14, 2009, Webb visited Myanmar (Burma), seeing its junta's leader, Gen. Than Shwe and also the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest. During Webb's visit with Than Shwe, Webb negotiated the release and deportation of an imprisoned American, John Yettaw.[49]

Webb visited Vietnam as part of a two-week trip to five Southeast Asian countries. The Senator, who serves as chair of the Senate Foreign Relation's subcommittee on East Asia and Pacific Affairs, stopped in Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City on August 19, where he met government officials, business leaders, and friends from his past involvement in US-Vietnamese relations. Webb, who can speak Vietnamese, has had a continuous involvement in Asian and Pacific affairs that long predates his time in the Senate. In addition to his more recent visits as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Webb has worked and traveled throughout this vast region, from Micronesia to Burma, for nearly four decades, as a Marine Corps officer, a defense planner, a journalist, a novelist, a Department of Defense executive, and as a business consultant. He worked in the 1990s as a consultant for companies attempting to do business in Vietnam.[50]

Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009

On March 26, 2009, Webb filed the Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009 (SB 714), which would create a blue ribbon commission to reevaluate the criminal justice system and drug policy and make recommendations for reform.[51] Noting that the United States houses 25% of the world's inmates despite having only 5% of the world's population, Webb proposed a comparison between U.S. incarceration policies and those of other developed nations.[52] At a United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs hearing, Webb described the criminal justice system as being in "...a profound, deeply corrosive crisis that we have largely been ignoring at our peril." He also criticized the lack of standards in prison administration and highlighted the justice system's negative impact on communities. The subcommittee chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), expressed support for the bill at the hearing and indicated his intent to move the bill to the full United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[53] As of December 5, 2009, the bill had 35 cosponsors.[54]

In the fall, an amendment to SB 714 was proposed by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) that would have prohibited the commission created by the bill from discussing or recommending the decriminalization or legalization of any substance prohibited under the Controlled Substances Act.[55] The proposed amendment drew criticism from some in the online community and was perceived as an attempt at censorship. Grassley later rescinded the amendment and claimed in a Des Moines Register op-ed he had proposed it to "start a debate on this important issue."[56]

SB 714 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a voice vote on January 21, 2010.

Engagement with Vietnam on rights

On January 27, 2010, Webb condemned Vietnam's jailing of four dissidents but urged the Obama administration not to isolate the communist nation. Webb voiced concern about Vietnam's jailing of the four dissidents for subversion in a day-long trial the previous week. "The arrest and trial of these individuals illustrates the growing pressure in Asia towards government censorship and authoritarian control," said Webb, "Rather than isolate Vietnam for its actions, I encourage the Obama administration to continue to raise issues of freedom of association and rule of law with the government of Vietnam."[57]

Webb is a strong advocate of engagement with non-democratic states in Asia. He is the most prominent advocate in Congress for dialogue with military-run Myanmar, often pointing to Vietnam as an example of how US engagement can lead to greater openness. Vietnam sentenced the four democracy advocates to between five and 16 years in prison, a decision condemned by the United States and European Union.[58]


On February 9, 2011, Webb announced that he would not run for re-election in 2012.[59][60]

Committee assignments

2008 Vice presidential speculation

Webb was frequently mentioned as a possible Vice Presidential Democratic nominee for Barack Obama in 2008 due to his military experience and moderate policy positions.[61][62][63][64][65] Although he said he was not interested in the vice presidency,[66] speculations about him being picked by Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee at the time, were still heard.[63]

Some felt that Webb's commentary on women serving in the military (e.g., his article "Women Can't Fight"[29]) was a strong consideration as to his possible candidacy. His selection would have closely followed the somewhat divisive Democratic primary battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton, whose candidacy had received strong support from organized feminism, and who would have been the first female major party nominee for the presidency, had she won the nomination. This situation may have made the prospect of Webb as Obama's running mate entirely politically untenable, as it could have caused many Democratic Clinton supporters to balk at switching allegiance to Obama.[67]

On July, 7, Webb effectively removed himself as a possible candidate for vice president in a statement made to Time, stating that he intended to serve his term in the Senate and that "under no circumstances will I be a candidate for Vice President.”[68] Obama went on to choose fellow senator Joe Biden as his running mate.

As an author


Webb's successful first novel, Fields of Fire (1978), drawn from personal experience, tells the story of a platoon of United States Marines in late 1960s Vietnam. Reviewers hailed its descriptions of infantry life and combat.[69]

After five more novels, he wrote a work of nonfiction, Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America, tracing the role people of Scots-Irish ancestry have played in American history and culture. Webb argues that, contrary to the "cracker" and "redneck" stereotypes often applied to the Scots-Irish, many of whom settled in Appalachia, the American Midwest and the American South, the Scots-Irish were central to defining American working class values and culture. He lauds the fiercely independent streak and individualism of the Scots-Irish, and explains how their political pragmatism has often led them to play the role of swing voters in elections, for example as Reagan Democrats, and as voters for Ross Perot and Reform Party. Critics complain that errors in this book include incorrect time frames, omissions, misinterpretations (such as viewing the American Civil War as a continuation of the centuries-old Celtic-Saxon conflict), and bias stemming from Webb's feelings of persecution as a veteran of the Vietnam War.[70]



Webb wrote the story and was the executive producer for the 2000 movie Rules of Engagement, which starred Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson.

Warner Brothers acquired Webb's script for Whiskey River.[71] The script concerns an American soldier who is injured in Iraq and returns to the United States. Before completing rehabilitation, he is called back to active duty. His father, in an attempt to save his son's life, kidnaps him.[71]

In October 2006, while commenting on the need to break away from stereotypical movie villains, Webb stated, "[e]very movie needs a villain. Towel-heads and rednecks—of which I am one... became the easy villains in so many movies out there."[72]


Webb has authored a number of articles in various journals and newspapers, including the Marine Corps Gazette, Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute, USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.[73]

On November 15, 2006, The Wall Street Journal published an article by Webb entitled "Class Struggle." Webb argued that the government must "confront the growing unfairness in this age of globalization." He also stated that the "elites" ignore the average American, and that they believe that "certain immigrant groups have the 'right genetics' and thus are natural entrants to the 'overclass,' while others, as well as those who come from stock that has been here for 200 years and have not made it to the top, simply don't possess the necessary attributes." Conservative columnist Jim Glassman has insinuated that this comment was anti-Semitic.[74]

Election history

Virginia U.S. Senate Election 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Jim Webb 1,175,606 49.6 +1.91%
Republican George Allen 1,166,277 49.2 -3.05%
Independent Greens Gail Parker 26,102 1.1
Write-ins 2,460 0.1
Majority 9,329 0.39% -4.18%
Turnout 2,370,445
Democratic gain from Republican Swing

Webb first won election to the senate in 2006, defeating incumbent George Allen.[75] George Allen attempted to win back his old Senate seat in 2012, but lost to Tim Kaine.[76]

See also

  • United States Senate election in Virginia, 2006


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  11. "US Marine Corps Awards – Vietnam". Full Text Citations for Vietnam War Awards of the Navy Cross. Archived from the original on 2006-08-29. Retrieved 2006-03-25. 
  12. "MTP Transcript for November 19 His relatives are Marissa Margaret Webb, Ruth Webb, Cassandra Webb, and James Webb.". Meet the Press. MSNBC. November 19, 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  13. Webb, James H. (1974). Micronesia and U.S. Pacific strategy: a blueprint for the 1980s. New York: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-08940-1. 
  14. Webb, James (November 1979). "Women Can't Fight". Washingtonian Magazine, Inc.. Retrieved 2008-03-04. 
  15. Ricks, Thomas E. (1997). Making the Corps. New York: Scribner. ISBN 0-684-83109-0. 
  16. Reagan, Ronald (2007). The Reagan Diaries. HarperCollins. p. 580. ISBN 978-0-06-087600-5. 
  17. Webb, Jim (September 23, 1990). "In the Gulf, the Danger of a Diplomatic Solution . . .; . . . And the Horrors of a Desert War". The New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2010. 
  18. McConnell, Scott (2006-12-04) Go Webb Go, The American Conservative
  19. Webb, James (2004-02-18). "Veterans face conundrum: Kerry or Bush?". USA Today. Retrieved 2006-10-29. 
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  21. "Can the Democrats Handle a Heretic?" Joe Klein. Time. New York: June 12, 2006. Vol. 167, Iss. 24; pg. 25
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  26. Shear, Michael D. (September 8, 2006). "Television Ad Shows Reagan Praising Webb In 1985 Speech". The Washington Post. p. B08. 
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Shear, Michael D. and Tim Craig (September 9, 2006). "Nancy Reagan Asks Webb to Pull Ad With Her Husband". The Washington Post. p. B01. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  28. "Editorial: Let Reagan Be Reagan". Washington Post. September 15, 2006. p. A18. 
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  35. Heil, Emily (November 29, 2006). "Son also rises in testy Webb-Bush exchange". The Hill. Retrieved 2006-12-02. 
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  48. Gun arrest gives Webb political opening – Tom Curry –
  49. "Senator wins release of US prisoner in Myanmar". August 15, 2009. 
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  57. Webb Asks Obama to Engage Vietnam on Individual Rights
  58. Statement of Senator Webb on Conviction of Vietnamese Democracy Activists
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External links




Political offices
Preceded by
John Lehman
United States Secretary of the Navy
Succeeded by
William Ball
Party political offices
Preceded by
Chuck Robb
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Virginia
(Class 1)

Succeeded by
Tim Kaine
United States Senate
Preceded by
George Allen
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Virginia
Served alongside: John Warner, Mark Warner
Succeeded by
Tim Kaine

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