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MADDOW: Nice to hear. There is, however, already an extra to that plan. Responding not to an offer, but just to rumors that he would be asked to be part of the Obama administration`s State Department, Republican Senator Richard Lugar made it known that he doesn`t want the job. So what will become of President-elect Obama`s bipartisan plans? Is bipartisan foreign policy even possible?
Joining us now, Sen. Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia. Sen. Webb, thank you so much for coming on the show today.
SEN. JIM WEBB (D-VA): Nice to be with you, Rachel.
MADDOW: First of all, let me congratulate you on a very deep blue Virginia. You must be proud as a Virginia Democrat today.
WEBB: I think it was really a great day for the country and I - hopefully, this is going to drive a stake into the heart of the Karl Rove type of politics that is really taking country in the wrong direction over the last eight years.
When I look back on this election, what I saw out of John McCain last night is the John McCain that I`ve known for 30 years. He was gracious. He was funny. He`s self-deprecating. And once the Karl Rove machine moved into his campaign in June, that, plus his nomination of Sarah Palin, I think, ruined his campaign.
So this is a good day. It was a good day in Virginia. And it was a good day in the country. And we need to now go forward and solve the country`s problems and have ourselves be held accountable in a couple years.
MADDOW: Do you see a future for bipartisan foreign policy? Do you think that foreign policy has been irretrievably politicized in the last eight years in a way that we won`t be able to treat it in the way that we did in the years before the Bush administration?
WEBB: The last eight years has been - has given us two different types of problems. One is the very partisan nature of the administration and the way that it required many Republicans to align themselves with an administration that was off base.
And then, the second part of it was this incredible transfer of power after 9/11 to the executive branch, away from the legislative branch. This is a much different Congress than it was 30 years ago when I was a young committee counsel up here.
MADDOW: Between now and the end of the year, something needs to be sorted out in Iraq in terms of the legal framework that governs the presence of our troops there. The Status of Forces Agreement that`s being worked on right now does not seem to be coming to a place where it`s going to be tightly wrapped up by New Year`s Eve and if it`s not wrapped up by New Year`s Eve when that U.N. mandate expires at midnight, it will be essentially illegal for our troops to leave their bases in Iraq?
What do you think will happen there? What do you think should happen there? And has Sen. Obama telegraphed what he wants to do about that issue?
WEBB: What I would suggest - and it looks like from the Iraqi side, this is starting to move forward - is that we extend the authority under the security council of the United Nations for a sufficient period of time that the Obama administration can come forward, go through this agreement and then bring it to the Congress so that we can give our proper constitutional approval of the document.
And it`s a very serious issue, as you said, because as of December 31st, we have no authority under international law to be operating in Iraq.
MADDOW: Last night, in his first speech as president-elect, Barack Obama said, "To those who would tear this world down, we will defeat you." He said it bluntly and with a sort of calmness that is the characteristic of his oratory. I wonder if you feel like President-elect Obama needs to convey a sense of toughness? A sense of national security focus and interest, in a way, not just for domestic political purposes because he`s won the election, but internationally.
If there is a sense that the rest of the world is looking to the new president to find out if we should be tested, if he could be tested, if the American - if we could be pushed around in a way that we couldn`t before.
WEBB: Well, I think that he should and will bring strong people around him and he doesn`t need to proceed forward with any sense of false bravado anymore than he need to during the campaign. I thought he conducted himself in a very remarkable way during the campaign but we will have these issues and the best thing to do as a leader is to get good people around you who can give you the right sort of the counsel and to make the right decisions and that`s what we`re going to be looking for from President Obama.