In a heavy-on-the-substance interview on the Charlie Rose Monday evening, Sen. Jim Webb touched on a variety of political topics: his early opposition to the Iraq war, the passage of his 21st Century G.I. Bill, trade, and corporate responsibility. The frankness with which he spoke was driven home - tellingly - when the Virginia Democrat explained why he took his name out of Barack Obama's vice presidential running. In essence, he was concerned about his ability to speak openly.
"I was saying from day one I really wasn't interested," said Webb, once considered a frontrunner to be Obama's second in command. "People would ask me about this and I would say I have been in elected office for two years and I have a great staff around me and we are focusing on issues I can talk about openly, which would be hard to do if I were part of an administration. And there was so much speculation after my book was published and the primary had passed that I thought I would clear the air."
Reminded by Rose that his assets - an ability to reach working class Democrats and carry his home state of Virginia - were important Obama needs, Webb responded: "Both of those considerations are still doable to the extent that they are true with me campaigning with and for Sen. Obama wherever he wants me. I think Virginia is very much in play and I will do everything I can to help him out. But it is a life decision and being inside an administration is a totally different phenomenon then being in the senate in terms of speaking openly on certain issues. I'm happy where I am."
The Senator went on to predict victory for Obama and argued that, if time allowed, "the working people in this country" will "sit down, listen to what Barack is talking about," and "gravitate to his story."
"I have great affection for Sen. Obama and I think he has a truly good shot," said Webb. "I think he is going to win."
Watch Webb's full interview with Charlie Rose below.