Jim Webb Finally Claims Gun, Makes Up with Bush

Senator Jim Webb has finally admitted that the gun an aide was arrested for attempting to get past Capitol security was his in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Sen. Jim Webb has dispelled any lingering mystery about it: The pistol involved in the arrest of a top Webb aide was the senator’s. “It’s my gun,” Webb, D-Va., acknowledged in an interview last week. Webb declined again to talk about whether he complies with the District of Columbia handgun ban.

This was largely a foregone conclusion but his reasoning for hanging his aide out to dry is rather bizarre:

Q: Will you discuss questions involved in the gun arrest of your aide? You said at the time you didn’t want to prejudice the outcome of the case. It is over now.

A: “It was a matter under legal consideration, and I was precluded from saying anything. That was my major point.

“And I hope you’ll understand that in matters of self-defense up here, it doesn’t do anybody’s safety a lot of good by talking about this stuff. We’re pretty vulnerable up here.

“When I was secretary of the Navy I had a 24-hour-a-day bodyguard. Harry Reid has a 24-hour-a-day bodyguard. The governor has a security detail.”

Q: Was the gun yours?

A: “It’s my gun. But what I said in the [March] press conference is true. I did not give it to Phillip, nor did I ask him to do anything with it.”

Q: Will you talk about the question of whether you comply with the District’s handgun law?

A: “I don’t think we need to discuss that any more.”

While I don’t condone lawmakers flouting the law, it’s hard to blame Webb in this case. There’s little doubt that he’s more likely than the average guy to be the target of a nut. Still, it would be far easier to abide by his flouting D.C. law if he were working to change it. Certainly, he’s in a strong position to bring gun rights to D.C. residents.

This is interesting, too:

Webb disclosed he was invited to the White House on Wednesday as part of a small, bipartisan group of lawmakers who met with President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. The group included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Webb said he discussed concerns and ideas about the situation in Iraq and in the broader Middle East, and he “felt like I was listened to.”

(After that meeting, Webb introduced his son, Jimmy, who recently returned from the Marine Corps in Iraq, to Bush in the Oval Office, according to Webb’s spokeswoman. The visit was private and “very respectful,” said the Webb aide, Jessica Smith.)

(In November, Webb had a chilly exchange with Bush at the White House after the president inquired about Jimmy. It was based on that situation that Webb now wanted the president to meet his son, Smith said. Webb has been a vocal foe of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.)

I’m not quite sure what to make of Bush’s inviting Webb back after the rude response he received to a thoughtful inquiry to a father about a son serving in harm’s way. Perhaps Webb subsequently apologized or Bush simply accepted that Webb’s response was a genuine reflection of pain. In any case, it says something good about both men that this meeting apparently went well; that the Jimmy Webb was part of it was a nice touch.

via Political Wire

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. ken says:

    Like most gun nuts Webb is irrational when it comes to his guns.

    Just where does Webb go that he feels it so unsafe that he must carry a gun for protection?

    If he believes that serving in the Senate is unsafe then he really ought to just give it up and stay home. I never thought I’d say this about him but he is just a big fat coward. We don’t need another wimp in Washington.

  2. Ugh says:

    I’m not quite sure what to make of Bush’s inviting Webb back after the rude response he received to a thoughtful inquiry to a father about a son serving in harm’s way.

    Well, that’s a curious way of looking at that exchange:

    “How’s your boy?” Bush asked, referring to Webb’s son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

    “I’d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President,” Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

    “That’s not what I asked you,” Bush said. “How’s your boy?”

    “That’s between me and my boy, Mr. President,” Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

  3. spacemonkey says:

    Webb should run for President.

  4. markm says:

    Well, I am a gun nut, I am not irrational but I ALWAYS know where my weapons are at 100% of the time. Webb is dangerous.

  5. ken says:

    Well, I am a gun nut, I am not irrational but I ALWAYS know where my weapons are at 100% of the time.

    Sure you do. You know where your gun is until you find out it is not where you thought it was.

    What you are is 100% foolish ALL of the time.

  6. James Joyner says:

    Well, that’s a curious way of looking at that exchange

    How would you characterize it?

  7. M1EK says:

    James,

    I’d characterize it as Webb being honest, and direct; and Bush being a jackass. If your blinders weren’t on so tight, I think you’d agree as well. Here’s the key point at which it went into rudeness:

    “That’s not what I asked you,”

  8. Ugh says:

    Either as the president being too dumb to take the hint or deliberately trying to provoke Webb (mostly the latter as its been reported Bush was warned that Webb was sensitive about the subject and that he shouldn’t be asked about it).

    Have you ever heard “That’s not what I asked you” said in some sort of thoughtful way? Perhaps you read the George Will version that conveniently left that part out – despite reporting in that same newspaper the day before.

    If Bush had said something along the lines of “I understand your position, I hope your boy is doing alright” and left it at that, then I might characterize it as you did.

  9. Anderson says:

    Yah, that’s a hard one to defend, JJ — Webb spun the personal into the political, but Bush was the one who took it to the point of being rude.

    I mean, what would’ve been so hard about Bush’s replying, “Me too”? Like he *doesn’t* want to get our troops out of Iraq, someday or other?

  10. James Joyner says:

    Yah, that’s a hard one to defend, JJ — Webb spun the personal into the political, but Bush was the one who took it to the point of being rude.

    My guess is that Bush just wasn’t expecting to have a polite query turned into a political attack. That’s generally not how those things are handled, especially when one is a guest of the president.

  11. Anderson says:

    My guess is that Bush just wasn’t expecting to have a polite query turned into a political attack.

    But that’s the thing — it *wasn’t* a political attack. He wanted to see his boy & the rest of the troops come home. He didn’t say “now” or “this year.”

    Again, for the statement to be construed as an “attack,” one would have to suppose that Bush was against the troops’ ever returning home. Which, god knows, he’s accomplished for 3,000 of them — but I didn’t think he was going for 100% on that.

    Imagine how easily FDR would’ve laughed off Webb’s response. “Me too” is, like, obvious. To anyone but Bush, that is.

  12. Christopher says:

    lol! You liberals going on like Bush was the rude one! Webb is an SOB, like most liberals. A rude SOB.

    Funny thing is, he voted recently for war funding! What a hypocrite!!!!

  13. markm says:

    “Sure you do. You know where your gun is until you find out it is not where you thought it was.

    What you are is 100% foolish ALL of the time. ”

    Sorry pal but I do in fact know where ALL my guns are at ALL the time. I have never gone to grab one of them and it wasn’t there.

    To “claim” Webb needs it for protection in DC and not know where it is or who has it or why someone other than Webb had it when they were not supposed to is plain irresponsible and dangerous.

  14. Anderson says:

    lol! You liberals going on like Bush was the rude one! Webb is an SOB, like most liberals.

    You’re a liberal troll, right? Because a real conservative wouldn’t write something so obviously self-refuting.

  15. ken says:

    Sorry pal but I do in fact know where ALL my guns are at ALL the time. I have never gone to grab one of them and it wasn’t there.

    Of course you do. And of course the gun is exactly where you think it is until you find out that it is not there.

    It happens all the time. Gun nuts always think they are perfect and can never make a mistake. But hubris itself is a cause of many mistakes. But gun nuts never see the truth of this until it is too late and someone is hurt or killed.