Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb formally announced his candidacy to seek the Democratic presidential nomination. It will be an uphill battle for Webb, as former secretary of state Hillary Clinton is the consensus favorite, according to recent polls.
Webb made the announcement through a statement on his website Thursday. He acknowledged the difficulty of winning the hearts and minds of Democratic voters:
I understand the odds, particularly in today’s political climate where fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money. I know that more than one candidate in this process intends to raise at least a billion dollars – some estimates run as high as two billion dollars – in direct and indirect financial support. Highly paid political consultants are working to shape the “messaging” of every major candidate.
A RealClearPolitics average of Democratic presidential polls has Webb at 2.3 percent, almost 60 points behind Clinton.
Webb, who served as secretary of the Navy under former president Ronald Reagan, took a jab at Clinton’s vote to go into Iraq. “Let me assure you, as President I would not have urged an invasion of Iraq, nor as a Senator would I have voted to authorize it,” he wrote.
I warned in writing five months before that invasion that we do not belong as an occupying power in that part of the world, and that this invasion would be a strategic blunder of historic proportions, empowering Iran and in the long run China, unleashing sectarian violence inside Iraq and turning our troops into terrorist targets.
The former senator also said he would work to “restore true economic fairness” by “making our tax laws more balanced and increasing the negotiating leverage of our working people.”
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In his statement, Webb also called for criminal justice reform. “This isn’t a political issue, it’s a leadership issue. It’s costing us billions of dollars,” he wrote. “It’s wasting lives, often beginning at a very early age, creating career criminals rather than curing them. It’s not making our neighborhoods safer.”
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