WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb said Tuesday he is "seriously looking" at a Democratic presidential campaign in 2016, a move that could create a challenge to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton if she seeks the White House again.
Webb said at a speech to the National Press Club that he has talked to respected advisers about a presidential bid and will continue to have those discussions during the next four or five months.
"I'm seriously looking at the possibility of running for president. But we want to see if there's a support base from people who would support the programs that we're interested in pursuing," he said.
Webb, 68, is a veteran of the Vietnam War who served as assistant secretary of defense and Navy secretary during the Ronald Reagan administration. He defeated Republican George Allen in his 2006 Senate campaign and served one term.
Clinton is the leading Democratic contender for president if she seeks the White House again but Democrats expect her to face a primary challenge. In addition to Webb, the field could include Vice President Joe Biden, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and others.
Webb said Tuesday that U.S. foreign policy has been "adrift" since the end of the Cold War and the nation's debate over domestic policy has become increasingly polarized.
"Not surprisingly the American people have grown ever more cynical about their national leadership in both parties and increasingly pessimistic about the future," he said.
Webb has made campaign appearances in Iowa on behalf of Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, who is running for Senate, and state Sen. Jack Hatch, who is challenging Republican Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. Webb plans to visit New Hampshire, the home of the nation's first presidential primary, on Oct. 20.
Associated Press writer Ken Thomas contributed from New York.