- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Virginia Republicans say the floundering campaign of U.S. Sen. George Allen should concentrate more on his accomplishments than on attacking his opponent or responding to charges of ethnic insensitivity.

“I have to believe that some of [Democratic nominee James H. Webb Jr.’s] folks are stirring things up behind the scenes, but I think the majority of the blame falls with the Allen camp,” said House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith, Salem Republican.

“I think you have to look at some of this stuff and wonder why they don’t have him ready to talk about his positive achievements. That’s all he has to talk about — the things George Allen has done,” Mr. Griffith said. “He really rewrote Virginia history with welfare reform, education reform, the abolition of parole — those are three big items.”

The Allen campaign yesterday was defending the senator against accusations by a former college football teammate that Mr. Allen regularly used “the N word” to refer to blacks and once crammed a severed deer head into a black family’s mailbox after a hunting trip.

Ken Shelton, a radiologist who was a receiver for the University of Virginia in the 1970s when Mr. Allen was quarterback, made the accusations in an article on Salon.com.

In addition, political scientist Larry Sabato said Monday on MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews that he thinks that Mr. Allen has used the slur.

Mr. Allen and his campaign staff have denied the accusations.

“The story and [Dr. Shelton’s] comments and assertions in there are completely false,” Mr. Allen told the Associated Press. “I don’t remember ever using that word, and it is absolutely false that that was ever part of my vocabulary.”

Allen strategist Christopher J. LaCivita said the senator and Mr. Sabato were not friends and did not associate with each other at the University of Virginia.

“Larry is obviously relying on words he heard from someone else,” Mr. LaCivita said. “We believe it’s completely inaccurate.”

Testimonials from other teammates “contradicting the media’s latest salvo” were posted yesterday on the Allen campaign Web site (www.georgeallen.com), which does not highlight the senator’s record.

The Allen campaign had been in damage-control mode since the senator’s frequent apologies for calling a Democratic staffer “macaca” and Mr. Allen’s reaction to a reporter’s question about his Jewish heritage.

“Nobody is getting information about issues they might care about,” said state Sen. Kenneth Cuccinelli II, Fairfax Republican, adding that the media have driven stories questioning Mr. Allen’s character.

“A strong feeling among many experienced campaigners is that you fight the fight where it arises,” Mr. Cuccinelli said. “It isn’t so much that there is a desire to carry on the campaign this way. This is how it has devolved. … In my view, the way you deal with the negative, you project positiveness and success.”

“From the other side’s perspective, the beauty of this is they don’t have to talk about issues — they don’t have anything to talk about,” he says.

Mr. Cuccinelli said it is interesting that accusations of racial insensitivity are being made now.

“It’s not like George Allen just popped up on the scene,” he said.

Allen campaign manager Dick Wadhams, who guided John Thune to a 2004 win against U.S. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in South Dakota, said the press has given Mr. Webb a “free pass.”

Early on, Mr. Allen’s positive TV messages shaped his campaign, and he enjoyed a double-digit lead in the polls. He had been one of the Republican Party’s most likely presidential candidates in 2008.

Then, at a campaign rally in Southwest Virginia on Aug. 11, he singled out a dark-skinned staffer for Mr. Webb, called him a macaca and told him, “Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.”

Macaca is a racial slur in some European cultures.

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