- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 12, 2015

Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, who is waging a long-shot bid for president, acknowledged Sunday that he is out of step with his own Democratic Party but vowed that he will connect with working-class Americans.

“The party has moved way far to the left. And that’s not my Democratic Party,” Mr. Webb said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We need to bring working people back into the formula.”

He said that he would be a voice for poor and working-class Americans who had been forgotten by the Democratic and Republican parties.

He invited Fox News to cover a medial clinic for people without medial insurance next weekend at a fairgrounds in remote southwest Virginia.

“They’re going to take care of about 6,000, at least, if historical records hold, people with no medical care,” said Mr. Webb. “They’ll pull 3,000 teeth. And these are people forgotten by both parties. And I think they need a voice.

Mr. Webb, a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War, novelist and former secretary of the Navy, was a Republican but switched parties over his opposition to the Iraq war to win an upset victory in the 2006 U.S. Senate race in Virginia.

In the interview, Mr. Webb demonstrated his independent streak by breaking with President Obama over the administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, its strategy to combat the terrorist army known as Islamic State and its policy for not arming Ukraine to fight Russian-backed separatists.

On Iran, Mr. Webb said he agrees with the stance of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.

Earlier on the show, Mr. McConnell blasted the Iran negotiations that are nearing completion in Vienna.

“We already know that it’s going to leave Iran as a threshold nuclear state. We know that,” said Mr. McConnell. “It appears as if the administration’s approach to this was to reach whatever agreement the Iranians are willing to enter into.”

The Senate leader said that it would be a “hard sell” to get the deal approved by his chamber.

Mr. Webb said he, too, would be hesitant to back the deal that’s coming together in Vienna.

“I agree a lot with what Senator McConnell just said, that what we do not want to do at this point is to send a signal to the region that we are accepting the notion that eventually Iran would be acquiring nuclear weapons,” he said.

“There are other ways that we can improve relations with Iran, confidence building gestures as we did with the Soviet Union over many years. Just that you don’t have to have this deal in order to move forward with them. But, you know, they seem pretty optimistic this morning from Europe. So, we’ll see what they bring to the table,” said Mr. Webb.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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