In his first national interview since announcing he is running for president, Democratic hopeful Jim Webb clarified his views on the Confederate flag after seeming supportive of the symbol following the Charleston shootings.
"Well, I think it's long been due to come down," Webb said on CBS Thursday morning. "The Confederate flag was a battle flag; it assumed a lot of unfortunate racist and divisionist overtones during the civil rights era."
In the wake of the Charleston shooting, Webb posted a statement saying, "this is an emotional time and we all need to think through these issues with a care that recognizes the need for change but also respects the complicated history of the Civil War."
Many of those pushing for the flag's removal saw Webb's comments as a defense of the flag, and he received much pushback for it. Webb has supported Southern heritage symbols in the past.
In the interview, Webb made an effort to align his views more closely with most Democrats.
"I did say that it did not belong in public places, but what my concern was that this would go beyond the issues of harmony and unity that we want to keep on the table and go into issues that again divide us," Webb said. "I think we think we've seen a great growth of unity in the American South since the civil rights era. The South has never been white against black per se. It's always been a small veneer manipulating the emotions if white against black for all these other reasons."
Webb's clarification of his more mainline Democratic view of the flag came the same morning that Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton released a statement applauding the South Carolina Legislature's decision to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds.
"Removing this symbol of our nation's racist past is an important step towards equality and civil rights in America," Clinton said. "The flag may soon no longer fly at the State Capitol, but there is still unfinished business in confronting and acting on the inequalities that still exist in our country. We can't hide from the hard truths about race and justice. We must do everything in our power to have the courage to name them and change them."