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Posted at 04:18 PM ET, 04/10/2011

Sen. Jim Webb, end of Senate career in sight, stars in new Scots-Irish documentary, “Born Fighting.”

Sen. Jim Webb at St. Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh for filming of his Smithsonian Channel documentary on the Scots-Irish, “Born Fighting.” (Smithsonian Channel)
Surprised when Sen. Jim Webb announced he wouldn’t seek a second term? We weren’t. Five years ago, we called him up out of the blue to invite him to go see a movie — “Annapolis,” an early James Franco flop loosely ripped off from one of Webb’s novels — and Webb gamely agreed to join us, at a weekday morning matinee, because that’s the kind of thing you can do when you're a full-time writer!

Then of course he ran for Senate from Virginia and unexpectedly won, and presumably that put the kibosh on that kind of fun? “Actually, Hong and I went to see a movie in the middle of the day recently,” Webb told us Friday. What did he and his wife see? He couldn’t remember.

We reconnected with Webb at a National Archives reception and screening for “Born Fighting,” a new Smithsonian Channel documentary based on his best-selling 2004 book that debuts Sunday night.

He stars in it as well, traipsing up green hills and through old churchyards in the U.S. and U.K. to tell the history of the Scots-Irish and their influence on American culture. (Virginia senators emeriti John Warner and Chuck Robb were among the guests in a tartan-heavy crowd.) It looks like the start of a next career. Can we assume he’s returning to writing?

“I’ve always been a writer,” Webb told us. “Without even intending it, my career has been evenly divided between public and private sector,” he said, emphasizing that past 2012 he has no specific plans.

He must totally hate fundraising, right? (Dumb question: Does anyone enjoy it?) Webb just grinned, glowing like a man with his eye on the finish line. “I really like being in the Senate and the work we’re doing,” he said.

But, “six years in the Senate is enough.”

By  |  04:18 PM ET, 04/10/2011

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