This Tuesday, you won an impressive, 7-point victory in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Virginia. Overall, what do you think were the strong points of your campaign for the Democratic nomination, what were the weak points, and what would you do differently if you ran it all over again?
I'm tremendously proud of the campaign we ran to win the primary. We did not go negative. We believed in our message and stayed with it. We never backed down from what we believed in, either for votes or for money. We stood firm on our convictions and those convictions will continue to guide us in the coming months.
But in just 100 days and without a lot of money, we assembled a first-class staff, earned the support of an army of bloggers and 2,500 volunteers, raised enough money to get our message out, and convinced Virginia Democrats not only that I was a Democrat who could be trusted, but that I was a Democrat who could expand the party and deliver real leadership.
So even if I had the chance to re-run the campaign, I would run it exactly the same.
What are your main criticisms of George Allen?
I have no personal animosity towards George Allen. He is just a bad Senator.
I supported George Allen six years ago, believing he might provide some leadership. I'm still waiting for one concrete example. It's not leadership to have followed this Administration blindly 97 percent of the time.
Why do you think you can win in November?
The coming campaign will be an important one, not only for Virginia but also for the nation. It will put many issues to the test - issues that may end up defining us for years to come. George Allen has already raised more than 11 million dollars, and intends to raise a great deal more. He has won two statewide races already. He has the power of incumbency on his side, and also the awesome power that comes with the backing of an incumbent President. We have, at the moment, not a lot of money, a candidate who has never run for office, and 2,500 ragtag rebels who have volunteered for what many may think is a hopeless quixotic journey.
I like those odds, actually. It'll make us all work a little harder. It fits with my favorite movie, Cool Hand Luke. One of the great lines in that movie: "Sometimes nothing is a pretty cool hand."
George Allen has already hired some of the most aggressive political operatives in the business - Mary Matalin, Dick Wadhams, Ed Gillespie, and Chris LaCivita, who created the Swift Boat ads against John Kerry. How do you think they're going to attack you?
It's ironic that Allen's people have already pointed to the fact that I switched parties and use that as the basis for flip-flopping allegations. I just have to wonder if they have the temerity to use the same standard on Ronald Reagan or Winston Churchill, two other party switchers.
I believe that when Virginians look at the issues they'll see that I may have switched parties, but I've never changed my principles. For example, I have always been a foreign policy realist who knew the importance of making correct strategic decision from military perspective. But the modern Republican Party - led by the Bush Administration and condoned by George Allen - has traded the advice of experienced military leaders for the advice of neoconservative ideologues who believe that democracy can be exported at the point of a gun, not just in Iraq but around the world.
[UPDATE: To donate to the Webb for Senate campaign so we can beat George Allen, and also so that we are not beholden only to large donors, please click here. Every bit helps. Thank you very much.]