For Allen, a new round of racial questions

Will the senator actually answer them?

Published October 26, 2006 1:05PM (EDT)

Just as George Allen seemed to emerge -- not exactly unscathed but still in the lead -- from "macaca," the "N-word" and the awkward way he has addressed his Jewish heritage, the Washington Post is raising new questions about the Virginia senator's racial sensitivity or lack thereof.

In a front-page profile this morning, the Post's Bill Turque identifies one high school football teammate of Allen's who says the future senator used what the Post calls "anti-black epithets" and another who links Allen to a racial incident in school.

On the morning that Allen's Palos Verdes High School was to play basketball against the only majority-black school in its conference, students arrived at school to find spray-painted graffiti that included the words "Kill Whitey," says Tim Good, an Allen classmate who now works as an accountant in Torrance, Calif. Good says that other former students have told him that Allen was responsible for it.

Allen declined to speak with the Post for its story; as we've noted recently, his staff is pretty much keeping him away from reporters in the final weeks of the campaign. But as the Post notes, Allen has said previously that he was involved in some sort of incident in high school. "I did something wrong when I was young that I regret," he said in a 2000 interview with the Post.

Although Allen leads Democratic challenger James Webb in most recent polls, his lead is slim, hovering right around the outer edges of most polls' margins of error. Not surprisingly, Webb holds a dramatic advantage among African-American voters.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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