05/19/2014 12:30 pm ET Updated May 19, 2014

Jim Webb Opens Door To White House Run

WASHINGTON -- Former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) may throw a monkey wrench into 2016 White House prognostications, suggesting in an interview that he is at least thinking about running for president.

Asked Monday on NPR's "The Diane Rehm Show" if he was considering a bid, Webb paused for a second, then said that he and his wife were discussing what they wanted to do next.

Guest host Susan Page pressed him, saying his answer sounded more like an expression of interest than a denial. Webb didn't disagree, and noted that he didn't announce his challenge of former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) until nine months before the 2006 election.

Webb also sounded a bit like he was talking up his political skills, pointing out that he had been able to beat Allen, who had been named the top presidential choice of conservatives in the Republican Party and was popular in the state.

But Webb also cautioned that it takes him a long time to consider such matters.

Webb is a Democrat, but it's not a given that if he decides to jump in, it would be in a primary against Hillary Clinton, should she decide to run. Webb, who is famously independent and was secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan, could entertain an independent bid.

He did say he didn't think a vice presidential run would be a good fit.

Here's the exchange between Page and Webb:

Q: We've had two callers ... say they hope you run for president. Would you consider doing that? Is that something that you think, "Maybe that will be in my future"?

A: My wife and I are just thinking about what to do next. I care a lot about where the country is, and we'll be sorting that out.

Q: So that, I would say, is not a denial of interest in running for president. In fact, that would be I think realistically seen, given the question I asked, as an expression of interest in the possibility of running for president.

A: Well, if you look at how I ran for Senate, I announced nine months to the day before the election with no money and no campaign staff. It takes me a while to decide things, and I'm not going to say one way or the other.

Q: What about the idea of being vice president?

A: No. I had some discussions in '08 about that and just really don't care to -- it wouldn't be a good fit for me.

Q: Why wouldn't it be a good fit?

A: In terms of governmental structure and that sort of thing, I just don't think I'd be a very good vice president.

This article has been updated with the transcript of Webb's remarks.



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