"Americans want positive, visionary leadership that they can
trust, at a time when our country is facing historic
challenges," Webb, 68, wrote in a four-page letter on his
"I made this decision after reflecting on numerous political
commentaries and listening to many knowledgeable people," he
said. "I look forward to listening and talking with more people
in the coming months as I decide whether or not to run."
By forming an exploratory committee, Webb is not committing to a
full-scale campaign, but formally acknowledging his interest in
pursuing the White House.
A Vietnam veteran who left the Senate in 2013 and who previously
served as Secretary of the Navy under Republican President
Ronald Reagan between 1987 and 1988, Webb is considered a long
shot to win the Democratic nomination.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has said she will
decide whether or not to run in early 2015, is widely regarded
as the frontrunner.
"With enough financial support to conduct a first-class
campaign, I have no doubt that we can put these issues squarely
before the American people and gain their support," he wrote,
acknowledging he has no full-time campaign staff, and listing
problems from income inequality and faltering American
infrastructure to "reducing ill-considered foreign ventures."
(Reporting by Gabriel Debenedetti; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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