Drip, drip, drip…
The New York Times has another person on the record who remembers Senator George Allen (R-Virginia) making racist comments, this time in the early 1980’s. This person is independent of the three former football teammates who spoke with Salon.com.
Separately, Professor Larry Sabato of UVA, who was a classmate of Allen’s at UVA in the 70’s and is considered one of the most renown political scientists and observers in the country, told Chris Matthews that he didn’t believe Allen’s denials.
The key part of the interview:
MATTHEWS: What about the charges that he actually used bad language that some of us are familiar with in this country, in fact most Americans are, the bad language about people from another background?
SABATO: Well, I can’t say how frequently he did it, but I don’t believe him when he denies ever having done it. [Matthews begins talking over him] That is just not true.
MATTHEWS: That in this country, for that generation, is a very hard test. The accusation here I believe is that he was distinctive in what is being called racial hatred, that he regularly used an awful word, the N-word, with some sort of attitude. Is that true?
SABATO: Well, I’m simply going to say that I’m going to stay with I know is the case, and the fact is that he did use the N-word, whether he’s denying it now or not. He did use it. It was the 70’s, you’re right, it was a harsh term. It was an obscenity as far as I’m concerned.
MATTHEWS: But you say he used the N-word?
SABATO: That is correct.
Whether this is based on direct first-hand insight or rumors and hearsay from the time, Sabato’s words probably carry more weight on this race and Senator Allen than most people because of his longstanding ties to the state and his understanding of Virginia and national politics.
Now, in fairness to Allen, only three of his former teammates have said he used racist language, and the graduate student who talked to the New York Times. He also denied the allegations in the Salon.com article in an interview with the Associated Press:
“The story and his comments and assertions in there are completely false,” Allen said during an interview with AP reporters and editors. “I don’t remember ever using that word and it is absolutely false that that was ever part of my vocabulary.”
The bottom line: it is now a media open season on George Allen’s past comments or views on race. If there is any truth to this or any more people who come forward to the news media on the record, Allen will be in very serious trouble with about 5 weeks to go before Election Day.