Speech for Senator George Allen
I am of the strong belief that Senator Allen could end this brouhaha once and for all by taking the bull by the horns and facing it aggressively. He should call a Press Conference with all of Virginia's major newspapers and newsmen present and give a speech like this one;
Good afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
I believe it is no secret that my campaign has had it rough for the past few weeks.
As you all know, a few weeks ago, I riffed on a young man who was an opposition researcher for the Webb campaign who had been following me around with a camera for a couple of days. I unwittingly used what turned out to be a racial slur in certain parts of Northern Africa in the earlier half of the 20th century. I honestly did not know. But for that mistake I do apologize and I would like to again make it clear that my use of the word was not racially motivated. If the young man in question had been white, black, purple, brown, green or bright blue with pink polka dots, I would have done the same.
Unfortunately, this soon got a great deal uglier. Even for campaign season.
Some people on the internet did what they called "investigative reporting" and upon discovering that my mother was born in French Tunisia concocted a theory that continues to stagger me for its sheer mean-spiritedness and thorough lack of decency. According to them, my mother must have taught me that word. Apparently, my mother sat her children at her knee and fed us a steady diet of racism, hatred and prejudice as we were growing up. What shocked me even more was to discover that this theory was found so credible that it made its way from the feverswamps of the internet to the pages of some of Virginia's newspapers.
And yet this was not the last time my mother was brought into this campaign.
I still am at a loss as to what possible relevance my maternal grandfather's religious beliefs has to do with my race for re-election to the United States Senate. There are some, even in my party, who say today that I did not handle that question well, like a politician should. I have But at that moment, when the young woman asked me that absolutely staggering question, maybe I stopped being a politician at that moment. Maybe, at that moment, I was just an outraged human being. And for that I will not apologize. #1
And then, this Saturday, an article was published by a Left-wing online magazine claiming that I regularly used the n-word back when I was at the University of Virginia. I would not hesitate to tell you all now that that article was one of the nastiest, most dishonest and dirtiest political tricks I have ever seen. The writer of this article interviewed nineteen of my former football team mates and friends and out of all them, discovered only three who would accuse me of racism. Two of them are under cover of anonymity, so we cannot know who they are, what their motives are and whether or not I actually knew them or not. Personally, I would not put it past the writer of this article to have made them up out of whole cloth.
The third person, the one who was named, is a man by the name of Kendall Shelton. Mr. Shelton claims that while he "used" to be a Democrat, today he's a "registered Independent". How so very convenient. But not only did the writer of this article and his editors at Salon magazine deliberately neglect to mention this, they also neglected to mention that he is a founder of an organization that was opposed to my election as Governor in 1993, as Senator in 2000 and my campaign for re-election to the Senate today. The author of this article, a Mr. Micheal Scherer obviously did not spend a single minute to investigate this man's claims before the article was published.
Number one; Mr. Shelton claimed that I came to the University of Virginia because I wanted to play where quote "black people knew their place." If Michael Scherer had simply done some basic investigating, he would have discovered that my father had just been made Head Coach of the Washington Redskins and my family had moved to Virginia. He would have discovered that the University of Virginia had African Americans on their football team and it would have made no sense for me to have come to the University of Virginia to play football if I was in any way a racist who did not want to play with African American team mates.
Number two; Mr. Shelton claimed that I gave him the nickname "Wizard" because he shared the same last name as a leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Mr. Scherer again failed to do any investigating to verify Mr. Shelton's claims. Because if he had done so, he would have discovered that Mr. Shelton earned the nickname for his abilities as a receiver and that he was given that nickname before I entered the University of Virginia.
Number three; Mr. Shelton claimed that I, together with him and another team mate, Billy Lanahan, went out and vandalized African American property. Mr. Scherer, once again failed to do any actual journalism. This never happened. There is no record of any such thing happening either in news reports, police reports and even with the NAACP. Mr. Scherer never called me or my office to verify if this happened. Mr. Lanahan, who was a friend of mine, unfortunately, but conveniently for Mr. Shelton and Mr. Scherer's story, died earlier this year.
It was on this pathetic thin reed, the testimony of a partisan opponent of my campaign and the possibly imaginary testimony of two others who supposedly requested anonymity that Salon magazine deliberately, and with malice aforethought decided to damage my campaign by smearing my reputation. It was a calculated October Surprise by a deeply unethical group of people. The aim of Mr. Scherer's article was not to enlighten or to bring to light new facts. It was precisely for the reaction it did get; to have the false accusations of Mr. Ken Shelton splattered across the frontpages and headlines of the newspapers and news broadcasts of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
It was an attempt by the writer and editors of Salon magazine to influence the coming elections by trying to re-introduce me to the people of Virginia as something that I am not. But what is even worse is that so many of Virginia's finest news organs chose to put this story in the headlines and lend it credibility before investigating these claims by Mr. Scherer and Mr. Shelton any further. #2
Over the past few days, others have come forward to claim to have heard me use the n-word. Every single one of them with reason to want to see me defeated in November. Including someone with a history of partisan politics on the other side of the aisle, that I, nonetheless, would never have expected to sink so low. This is the same man who refereed a debate between I and Senator Chuck Robb in 2000. Not a single one of these people remembered these supposed incidents when I was running for the Virginia House of Delegates, United States House of Representatives, for the Virginia Governor's office and the Senate in 2000. But today, six weeks to election day, they conveniently remember with perfect clarity, things I supposedly said to them, or heard me say to someone else, more than thirty years ago.
I have met and come across thousands of people throughout the course of my life and career. I'm sure there would be some, from high school, college, the neighborhoods I have lived in, or my time in politics, whether for personal or political reasons who would not like me today. And that's fine. But what is not fine is that some have clearly come to the conclusion that my losing this election is worth any damage inflicted upon my reputation and slandering of members of my family, most especially my mother.
And so today, I am being forced to do the impossible by proving a negative. I have to prove that my mother did not teach me to be prejudiced. I have to prove that twenty or thirty years ago that I did not say something that I know that I would never have said then or now. All I can do is continue to bring forward people who can vouch for me that these accusations do not correspond with what they know of my character. But I am certain all that would happen is more and more people, including people I have never spoken to or ever met, would continue come forward and continue to repeat these charges in the hope that they would see them repeated in news broadcasts and the front pages of newspapers.
So I am no longer going to dignify these people and this entire subject with any more of my time. It will soon be election day and it is time for us to get serious and deal with the issues that truly matter to the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States, not underhanded and unethical dirty political tricks by dishonest journalists and editors.
That is all.
Thank you all very much.
NOTE: The following are lines I thought could stand to be added, but I am not so certain.
#1 My mother's father was Jewish man who was put in a concentration camp by the Nazis. Today a grandson of his is a former Governor of the great state of Virginia and a sitting United States Senator. America is truly wonderful. And I certainly have nothing to be ashamed of because he was a good man who raised a wonderful daughter who did a great job in raising I, my brothers and my sisters.
#2 There are some who say that if I were a Democrat, you Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press would have taken the time to verify Mr. Scherer's article before you plastered his patently false and ill-researched accusations on the front page of Virginia's newspapers.