9 Questions with Senator Jim Webb

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3. Republican Good Faith

RCP: Speaking of politics, the President seemed to indicate -- at least the other night in his press conference -- that Republicans might not have gone into this process in good faith. Is that what you experienced in your talks?

Webb: I'm not sure I would say good faith. I think the Republicans -- many Republicans -- decided that this is going to be the defining political issue for the next two and four years. And I say that as someone, as you know, who works across the aisle every chance I get. We would never have had a G.I. Bill if we hadn't really reached across the aisle, for instance. But I think this was definitely a political calculation by the Republican Party -- that this is an issue that will define them over the next couple years. And the reality is that it's going to be very difficult to link economic success with a program like this because of the way that it's being presented, the renewed bureaucracy, and all these other things they're throwing out there. But it would be very easy to take potshots at specific failures. So I think that's all a part of their strategy.

We saw here in Virginia on Monday the traditional meeting with the governor and the whole congressional delegation. Every year this happens. And every single Republicans decided not to come and not to let their staff come. It's almost unheard of. The point that I've been making over the past several days is: You can take whatever substantive you want, that's why we're here; but we really need to focus on governing right now; we've got a country that's in a crisis right now.

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