Monday, September 25, 2006

Senator Allen Used "N" Word In College

From "macaca" to "Okay, my mother was raised a Jew even though yesterday I took immense offense to the question at the Senate debate and said she was raised a Christian as far as I know" to using the 'n' word. Salon has the story:

Sept. 24, 2006 | WASHINGTON -- Three former college football teammates of Sen.
George Allen say that the Virginia Republican repeatedly used an inflammatory racial epithet and demonstrated racist attitudes toward blacks during the early 1970s.

"Allen said he came to Virginia because he wanted to play football in a place where 'blacks knew their place,'" said Dr. Ken Shelton, a white radiologist in North Carolina who played tight end for the University of Virginia football team when Allen was quarterback. "He used the N-word on a regular basis back then."

A second white teammate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared retribution from the Allen campaign, separately claimed that Allen used the word "nigger" to describe blacks. "It was so common with George when he was among his white friends. This is the terminology he used," the teammate said.

A third white teammate contacted separately, who also spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of being attacked by the Virginia senator, said he too remembers Allen using the word "nigger," though he said he could not recall a specific conversation in which Allen used the term. "My impression of him was that he was a racist," the third teammate said.

Shelton also told Salon that the future senator gave him the nickname "Wizard," because he shared a last name with Robert Shelton, who served in the 1960s as the imperial wizard of the United Klans of America, a group affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan. The radiologist said he decided earlier this year that he would go public with his concerns about Allen if a reporter ever called. About four months ago, when he heard that Allen was a possible candidate for president in 2008, Shelton began to write down some of the negative memories of his former teammate. He provided Salon excerpts of those notes last week.

On Sunday morning, Salon spoke with David Snepp, a spokesman for Allen's Senate office, to ask for a response to the recollections of the three former teammates. E-mail and phone messages were also left for Bill Bozin, a spokesman for the Allen campaign, and Dick Wadhams, the campaign manager. Though Snepp indicated that the campaign, and probably Wadhams, would respond, eight hours later no one in the Allen camp had replied to Salon. Chris LaCivita, a consultant to the Allen campaign, hung up when a Salon reporter reached him mid-afternoon Sunday. Additional attempts to contact the campaign were unsuccessful.

Yeah, I bet I know why nobody from the Allen campaign wanted to talk about the allegations - because it takes a while to come up with a bullshit excuse and/or a response. I assume they'll smear the former teammate Shelton who went on the record. I assume they'll also seek out the other two anonymous teammates and threaten/cajole them into changing their stories. And then of course they'll magically appear with a dozen or so African-Americans with oblique connections to Allen's past at a press conference and tell everybody how much Allen loves the African-American people and how he wanted to march with Dr. King but couldn't get away from football practice. Something along those lines.

But the damage is done.

Allen's affinity for the Confederate flag back in high school (he wore a Confederate flag pin in his yearbook photo), his calling a Webb aide "macaca" (a slur against African immigrants in some European cultures akin to the 'n' word), and his bizarre response last week to a question about possible Jewish ancestry (which turned out to be true), have all left serious questions about Allen's character. Allen may still beat Democratic opponent James Webb in the Virginia Senate race (although the latest two Allen controversies have taken the heat off Webb for his own controversial past writings about women in the military.) The latest poll showed Allen with a four point lead over Webb, although no new polls have been released since either the "Jewish controversy" or the 'n' word allegations. But Allen was also supposed to be a serious contender for the 2008 GOP nomination. He was considered to be an heir to the George W. Bush legacy (although why anybody would want that is beyond me.) Given the recent controversies and Allen's handling of each, I would seriously doubt he gets any support in '08.

And it is quite possible that Allen's political career may not even survive past November 7th. Look for more dirt to emerge on Allen's opponent Webb. The only way Allen can hang on is by turning attention back to Webb. He had succeeded at that by turning people away from his "macaca" comment and toward Webb's allegedly misogynistic writings back in the 70's about women in the military. But now two more controversies have put some very negative attention back on Allen.

Howard Fineman and Charlie Cook both said last week on Hardball Allen would win the Senate race unless he screwed up one more time and gave Webb the opening he needed to garner more support. Between the "Jewish controversy" and the 'n' word allegations, Allen has given Webb two screw-ups. Let's see if Webb can take advantage and finish off the Grand Wizard of Virginia.

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