Webb Hit for Novels' Sex-Laced Language; Portrayals of Women Rapped

Article excerpt

Byline: Seth McLaughlin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

U.S. Senate candidate James H. Webb Jr. faced more criticism yesterday about his characterizations of women, when critics publicized excerpts of his novels, including graphic sexual passages involving women and children.

"There is nothing that's been in any of my novels that has not been illuminating of the surroundings, or defining a character or moving a plot," said Mr. Webb, a Democrat. "I'm a serious writer."

Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, said she was "sickened" by what she had read.

"Democrat or Republican, an individual like that belongs on the couch of a therapist, not on the floor of the United States Senate," she said.

Laura MacLeod, another woman in the Virginia coalition, said she will take Mr. Webb's novel "Lost Soldiers" to "every ballet practice and every soccer game" until the Nov. 7 election.

Mr. Webb's writings started appearing on conservative blog sites as early as Oct. 16, but were not picked up by the press until Thursday night, which prompted the coalition to hold a press conference yesterday outside Mr. Webb's office in Arlington.

The passages come from five of Mr. Webb's wartime novels, starting with "Fields of Fire" in 1978. The excerpts include pedophilia, acrobatic young strippers and the homosexual behavior of guards at a prison in Vietnam.

The women said Mr. Webb's character is a bigger issue than the Iraq war and that the content of Mr. Webb's work was worse than the sexually explicit e-mails Rep. Mark Foley, Florida Republican, sent to congressional pages.

Mr. Webb said he was warned by friends before entering the race that the 2 million words he has published made him an opposition researcher's dream and that they would be taken out of context to be used against him.

Excerpts were read yesterday morning on the Don Imus radio show on MSNBC and on The Washington Post radio show "The Politics Program With Mark Plotkin," despite Mr. Webb saying that would be inappropriate and that people chose to read his novels.

"Some of Webb's writings are very disturbing for a candidate hoping to represent the families of Virginians in the U.S. Senate," the campaign of incumbent Sen. George Allen, a Republican, stated in a press release. …