(Crossposted from RK).
Senator Jim Webb was in Charlottesville today to endorse Tom Perriello, who is the Democratic candidate in VA-05 against Virgil Goode.
I was really looking forward to meeting Senator Webb for the first time, and he was gracious enough to give me a few moments of his time for an interview (he was already late for his next appointment), where I blog.
Interviewing Sen. Webb is a different kind of experience. Usually, when you interview a politician, they just keep talking until you ask the next question. After you ask Sen. Webb a question, however, he takes a moment to actually think, then he gives you a direct answer, then he stops talking and waits for you to ask the next question.
The big news: Virginia is looking better and better not only for Obama, but for downticket races as well. The fact that we are ... what ... three or four weeks from Election Day and still talking about the legitimate possibility that the Democratic candidate in VA-05 could beat Virgil Goode is quite amazing.
Text of my brief interview with Webb on the flip.
Q: What do you see as Barack Obama’s chances of taking Virginia come November 4?
SEN. WEBB: I think Barack Obama is going to win. I think that the mood in this country right now is toward people who want to solve problems. They want leaders who will solve problems. If you look at his intellect, and if you look at the way that he has conducted himself, his temperament, people are beginning to understand that he is the one that they want to see in the White House.
Q: Do you get a sense Sen. Obama is making inroads in Southern Virginia, in Southwestern Virginia, in Southside?
SEN. WEBB: His great challenges are going to be, particularly, in Southwest, but I certainly get the feeling that people are very concerned about where the country is, and they don’t want to waste a vote on some of these emotional issues.
Q – As somebody who served his country honorably in Vietnam and since then, when you see tape of Senator McCain and Governor Palin out on the campaign trail and you hear some of the ugliness that is coming out of the crowds in response to their heightened rhetoric, what do you think about that? What does that do you? Why is that happening here in America?
SEN. WEBB: I think that the Karl Rove era has exacerbated a lot of those types of emotions. They focus on attacks on character. The whole Karl Rove philosophy – I wrote about it in my last book – is to say this person is not like you, you cannot trust this person, he doesn’t understand you. So, that’s what their hitting on right now in the final weeks, and I think Obama has handled it extremely well. I think it benefits him, it goes to his favor that he has kept his cool and shown his temperament.
Q – Senator, you know national security as well as anybody. You know Barack Obama very well. Is he ready to be our commander in chief? Does America have anything to fear from a President Obama?[aznew note – I just like saying that – President Obama!]
SEN. WEBB: I think Barack Obama is going to be a fine commander in chief. He has got the right temperament. He has the right intellect. And he’s going to get good people around him so that the crisis that we are in, he is going to be receiving a variety of different kinds of advice that will help shape his opinions. He’s a cool customer.
(About RK: RK is the top Progressive blog in Virginia. Besides working for Sen. Obama, RK is very focused this cycle on three Congressional races: VA-02, where Glenn Nye is challenging Thelma Drake; VA-05, my district, where Tom Perriello is trying to unseat anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant Virgil Goode; and VA-10, where Judy Feder is up against Frank Wolf. Winning any of them will send a message that intolerance and narrow-mindedness is not the American way.)