George Allen, pundit

Sen. Macaca weighs in on the contenders in the race he could have run.

Published May 22, 2007 4:36PM (EDT)

The moment we've all been waiting for: Former Virginia Sen. George Allen, who could have been a presidential contender for 2008, weighs in on the Republican candidates who are actually in the race.

Allen has kind words for most of the players in the GOP field, but he paints former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- nicely, but still -- as something of a flip-flopper. "I don't know Gov. Romney," Allen tells the Christian Broadcasting Network. "The positions he's taking today are not necessarily the ones he's taken before, but the positions he's presently taking are good positions, and he seems to present himself well."

Allen also notes that the people of Virginia may have different views from those of the people of, oh, say, Massachusetts.

Allen, whose campaign for reelection to the U.S. Senate crumbled after he called S.R. Sidarth "macaca" and a series of news stories chronicled his repeated use of the "N-word," said he respects his party's presidential candidates for putting themselves through "the gauntlet" of a political campaign. "I would hope that the questioning of them will be on actual issues, their record, their ideas for the future," he says, "rather than [on] some of what I consider to be irrelevant and wholly inappropriate questions that some of them are getting."

Allen advises voters to ask themselves whether the candidates they're considering really believe the things that they're saying. "Let's look at their past record," he says. "It's just like if you're buying stock or you're buying an automobile, you're going to look at past performance -- what's their record? Don't tell us, 'This is just great,' and everyone else says, 'Gosh, this is completely contrary to his past performance.'"

That's probably good advice. The problem for Allen: The voters of Virginia apparently took it.

By Tim Grieve

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

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