- The Washington Times - Monday, October 2, 2006

Virginia Sen. George Allen, in a rare two-minute televised statewide address yesterday, pledged to spend the final five weeks of his re-election campaign focused on his record and the issues that matter most to voters.

The Virginia Republican last night appeared on five stations in several markets to “bring this campaign back to where it belongs.” The address follows a month that left him politically bruised, slipping in the polls and taking criticism from liberals and conservatives alike.

“Virginians expect to hear us address the real issues you care about. Over the past several weeks that hasn’t been the case,” Mr. Allen said, with his wife, Susan, standing by his side.

“Some of this I’ve brought on myself. But the negative personal attacks and baseless allegations have also pulled us away from what you expect and deserve. I’m confident that if this Senate race is decided on issues, ideas and my proven record of performance, you’ll allow me to continue serving you.”

In the ad, a smiling Mr. Allen touted his record as governor and noted some of his Senate ideas.

In Northern Virginia, the prerecorded ad ran a few minutes after a spot attacking Mr. Allen’s Democratic challenger, James H. Webb Jr., had aired.

Mr. Webb initially planned a conference call to rebut Mr. Allen’s appeal to voters — also seen in Richmond, Norfolk, Roanoke and Bristol.

However, a few minutes after the spot aired, Webb campaign adviser Steve Jarding called Mr. Allen’s ad “embarrassing” and “canned” and that Mr. Webb would not dignify it with a response.

“They offered nothing new tonight,” Mr. Jarding said. “It was a joke. We thought he actually might say something.”

Liberal-leaning bloggers noted on their sites last night they had expected an apology from Mr. Allen, or a promise he would serve a full six years if re-elected, since the senator still is considering a presidential run in 2008.

During the address, the camera focused in on Mr. Allen’s face as he told viewers that he wants to see troops return from Iraq as soon as possible, but “in victory, not defeat.”

Mr. Allen, who will not release fundraising totals until later this month, spent $50,000 for last night’s television time, said campaign manager Dick Wadhams. He has used a sizable chunk of his $6.6 million campaign war chest to run statewide television ads, including one attacking Mr. Webb for a 1979 article he wrote about the role of women in the military.

Mr. Webb, a former Republican whose son is serving in Iraq, is running his own television ad saying Mr. Allen is not the right man to help the U.S. pull out of the “mess” in Iraq. Mr. Webb will release his fundraising report tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a Rasmussen Reports poll released yesterday shows Mr. Allen leading Mr. Webb by six points.

Mr. Allen has had a pretty terrible past 30 days.

First, he was caught on tape calling a Webb campaign operative who is of Indian descent “macaca” in front of a mostly white audience in Southwest Virginia. The event, which took place in August, was replayed on national television and made the joke reels on late-night shows after it was revealed that “macaca” is considered an ethnic slur in some cultures.

While Mr. Webb cashed in on the gaffe with many online donations and by basking in free publicity, Mr. Allen went on a statewide tour offering an apology and saying he had no racist intentions because he had made the word up.

Mr. Allen, a former Virginia governor, congressman and state legislator, had a less-than-stellar performance in two back-to-back debates. During the second debate last month, when a reporter asked Mr. Allen if he had Jewish ancestry, he blew up and accused her of making “aspersions.” He announced the following day that his maternal grandfather was Jewish.

Yesterday, several former Washington Redskins — black and white — dismissed claims reported in Salon.com last week that Mr. Allen used the “N-word” while at the University of Virginia. They said the reports were “absolutely contrary” to Mr. Allen’s personality.

“Even if that were the case, I remember when I was young I made some very disturbing remarks about white folks,” said Roy Jefferson, who played on the team under Mr. Allen’s late father, coach George H. Allen. “But you grow up; you mature.”

Also yesterday, Democrats called on Mr. Allen to return $2,000 his re-election campaign received in donations from Rep. Mark Foley in June 2005. The Florida Republican, who resigned abruptly Friday, has been implicated in sending sexually explicit instant messages and e-mails to teenage males who served as congressional pages.

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