Does Webb Have a Race Problem?

Posted: September 28, 2006 in 2006 Elections

From today’s Washington Post:

Webb described taking drives through the black neighborhood of Watts, where he and members of his ROTC unit used racial epithets and pointed fake guns at blacks to scare them.

“They would hop into their cars, and would go down to Watts with these buddies of his,” Cragg said Webb told him. “They would take the rifles down there. They would call then [epithets], point the rifles at them, pull the triggers and then drive off laughing. One night, some guys caught them and beat . . . them. And that was the end of that.”

Cragg said Webb told him the Watts story during a 1983 interview for a Vietnam veterans magazine. Cragg, who described himself as a Republican who would vote for Allen, did not include the story in his article. He provided a transcript of the interview, but the transcript does not contain the ROTC story. He said he still remembers the exchange vividly more than 20 years later.

As a journalist I would be derelict if I did not write down detailed notes or a complete transcript of any interview, particularly if it were an explosive allegation such as the one Cragg is now saying Webb told him but he didn’t include in his story.

Unless more people come forward and corroborate Cragg’s claims (note the use of the word they when Cragg tells the story, implying that several people were involved in this) this will not be a big issue for Jim Webb as it is with George Allen. I should also note that a big part of Allen’s problems were caused because his reactions or remarks were caught on tape. However, until Webb issues a more forceful denial about this (read the rest of the Post story), he will appear to be ducking the issue.

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