Yesterday, I blogged about Larry Sabato clarifying his remarks on whether or not he’d actually heard Senator George Allen use the “n” word. In that post, I also referenced an article nothing his opponent Jim Webb’s shiftiness over answering a question about whether or not he’d used the word. Well, the intrigue over that continues today. Via the WaPo:
RICHMOND, Sept. 27 — Democratic Senate candidate James Webb on Wednesday sought to explain remarks he had made a day earlier, in which he refused to say whether he had used the “N-word,” but he insisted he has never used it as a racial epithet aimed at anyone.
“I don’t think that there’s anyone who grew up around the South that hasn’t had the word pass through their lips at one time in their life,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Tuesday. “If you read ‘Fields of Fire,’ that word and a lot of other words are in the book.” “Fields of Fire” is a novel Webb wrote about the Vietnam War.
Webb’s comments to the Times-Dispatch prompted Allen campaign officials to direct a reporter to Dan Cragg, a former acquaintance of Webb’s, who said Webb used the word while describing his own behavior during his freshman year at the University of Southern California in the early 1960s. Webb later transferred to the U.S. Naval Academy.
Cragg, 67, who lives in Fairfax County, said on Wednesday that 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.”
Webb, who is in Texas for fundraising events, did not respond to repeated requests for comment. [Webb spokeswoman Kristian Denny] Todd said Webb denied the allegations in a conversation with her.
“He said it’s not true. It’s not even close to being true,” Todd said. She quoted Webb as saying: “In 1963, you couldn’t go to Watts and do that kind of thing. You’d get killed. So of course I didn’t do it. I would never do that. I would never want to do that.”
Todd condemned the allegations as politically motivated by the Allen campaign.
They are pathetic individuals. They are beneath it. They are slime,” she said. “Here we are trying to talk about the issues. They are completely and totally desperate.”
Um, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it Webb’s campaign that made race a major issue after the macaca incident? Yes, I do believe it was. With a little help from the Washington Post, too. Frankly, I’m surprised to see the article about Webb’s alleged use of the “n” word in the WaPo. Wonders never will cease …
In any event, as I noted yesterday, this race has boiled down to a he said/she said campaign – and it all depends on who you believe – not just about the allegations regarding Allen, but now Webb, too. Too bad actual issues aren’t getting much action in the press. Instead it’s just become a mudslinging contest. Sadly, I think what we’re seeing here is a preview of things to come in 2008.
Hat tip: John Hawkins