Before last night's Democratic presidential debate, we wrote that Jim Webb, the former senator from Virginia, was the candidate with the most potential to really stand out. Of the three relative unknowns, Webb had the highest poll numbers, the highest volume of searches, and the most interesting biography.
We appear to have been wrong.
After the first debate came to an end, Webb's litany of gaffes, startling answers, and stiff demeanor have made him the butt of more than a few jokes online — and the debate's unofficial loser.
The moment that's raising the most eyebrows is his answer to a question by CNN host Anderson Cooper. Cooper asked the candidates which enemy they were proudest of having made, and four answered metaphorically — the NRA or the coal industry, for example. Webb did not. His enemy was a man he literally killed, when he was serving in the Vietnam War.
"He's not around right now to talk to," Webb said.
During the rest of the debate, Webb came out againt his fellow Dems time and time again, prompting one CNN commentator to say that he'd make a really great candidate…as a Republican.
When asked about the fact that he was once given an "A" rating from the NRA (other candidates were bragging about their failing grades), he spoke out instead about the rights of families to bear arms. When asked about the Black Lives Matter movement, he again broke with the field — saying "all lives matter," which has come to signify a lack of sympathy with the movement's cause.
But, worst of all, he complained — a lot — about how everyone was ignoring him, a move that has never in the history of debates made anyone look anything but desperate. Official time counts from the debate show that Webb actually got the second-least time on camera (the loser was Chafee), but anyone watching wouldn't really know it.
Instead, you'd probably remember Webb griping about being left behind — which can't be what he was going for.