- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 11, 2001

U.S. Sen. George F. Allen, who as Virginia governor pushed through his plan to abolish parole in the state, said yesterday that this year's Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark L. Earley was an important supporter of the policy, while Democratic candidate Mark R. Warner was part of the opposition.
Parole abolition encapsulates larger issues in the campaign. Republicans point to it as one of their signature successes during the last eight years of Republicans in the governor's office, and they charge that Mr. Warner can't be trusted to continue with those policies.
"In [this years] race for governor, only one candidate stood with us when we were fighting very hard to abolish the lenient, dishonest parole system and that's Mark Earley," Mr. Allen said.
Mr. Allen promised to abolish parole during his 1993 campaign for governor in front of a courthouse in Alexandria, and polls showed the issue was critical to his big victory margin over his Democratic opponent that year.
He had hoped to hold yesterday's event at the same site, but rain forced him to move a few blocks away. He was joined by Richard Cullen, Mr. Earley's campaign chairman and a U.S. attorney in Virginia; and William P. Barr, former U.S. attorney general, both of whom served on his commission on parole abolition.
They say Mr. Allen's opponent in 1993, Mary Sue Terry, opposed Mr. Allen's policy, and Mr. Warner as chairman of the state Democratic Party at the time stood with her.
But Mr. Warner says that he supports the policy now, and that he was a supporter as far back as his 1996 failed U.S. Senate bid.
"Mark's position on parole abolition is very clear, and has been very clear he supports it. Demanding fiscal accountability in state programs is not the same thing as being opposed to them," said Amanda Crumley, his spokeswoman.
The Warner campaign also sees the debate as an indicator of bigger issues but for them it's about Mr. Earley's and Republicans' credibility. They, and several major papers in the state, have criticized the Republican campaign for taking quotes on the issue out of context.
Mr. Allen's appearance yesterday is just the latest statement on the issue but an important one.
"There is no higher authority on parole abolition than George Allen," said Ed Matricardi, executive director of the state Republican Party.
And he said Republicans are ready to keep pounding away on the issue: "We're more than happy to continue the debate regarding parole abolition with Mark Warner because we believe it's a debate Mark Warner cannot win."

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