Former Senator Webb rules out independent presidential bid

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 11, 2016 10:29 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, who dropped his bid for the Democratic Party presidential nomination last October, told a Texas foreign affairs group on Thursday that he had studied an independent bid for the White House and decided against it.

"We looked at the possibility of an independent candidacy. Theoretically it could be done, but it is enormously costly and time sensitive, and I don't see the fundraising trajectory where we could make a realistic run," Webb told the World Affairs Council of Dallas, according to a statement from his spokesman.

In his speech to the council, Webb called for a vigorous foreign policy debate in the presidential campaign and said neither political party appeared to be addressing the needs of most voters.

"We have not had a clear statement of national security policy since the end of the Cold War," he said. "And I see no one running for president today who has a firm understanding of the elements necessary to build a national strategy."

Webb is a decorated war veteran who served in the Vietnam War and was Navy secretary during the administration of Republican President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of 10 books and an Emmy award-making journalist and filmmaker.

Webb ended his bid for the Democratic nomination in October after only four months, acknowledging his more conservative political views were out of sync with many of the party's leaders and primary voters.

He indicated at the time that he planned to review his options and talk to people and groups who have urged him to run for president as an independent candidate.

"I've worked with both parties, including as an official in the Reagan administration and as a Democrat in the Senate. Both parties, in my view, have moved away from the major concerns of the average American," he told the World Affairs Council of Dallas.

For more on the 2016 presidential race, see the Reuters blog, “Tales from the Trail” (http://blogs.reuters.com/talesfromthetrail/).

(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Doina Chiacu, Grant McCool and Bernard Orr)