Allen, a wanna-be tough guy who poses in cowboy boots on the Virginia campaign trail, runs away from direct questions with the velocity of a Bush administration official answering questions about dead American soldiers.
In the debate, Allen, a presidential aspirant, demonstrated his lying, equivocating character on a variety of issues before a national television audience.
With the U.S. Senate in reach of a democratic takeover this November, and polls showing that Webb has closed the race with the heavily funded incumbent to a statistical dead heat, a lot of the political world tuned in.
At the event, Allen singled out and ridiculed a college-aged Webb volunteer of Indian descent in the crowd as a "Macaca (a racial slur)," facetiously welcoming the minority American to America and the "real" Virginia, to the laughter of the mostly white audience.
Since that incident, well reported and roundly condemned, the Allen campaign has been in free fall, and is now in jeopardy of defeat at the hands of a political novice.
Russert runs the Macaca clip, and then Russert hits Allen hard.
"This fella here, over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca or whatever his name is; he's with my opponent...And let's give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia," the clip shows Allen saying at the campaign stop.
"....Why did you use those words toward a dark-skinned American?," asked Russert.
In response, 50 days before the election, George Allen said that he has learned a lot about racism lately, and that the Macaca term was just made up anyway and had no racial connotations.
"Tim, I made a mistake. I said things thoughtlessly. I've apologized for it as well I should. But there was no racial or ethnic intent to slur anyone...," said Allen. "...It's not who I am."
Allen further elaborated that the point he was making was that he was talking about "Virginia values" as opposed to "Hollywood," where Webb had raised some campaign money. Webb pointed out that Allen has raised much more money in Hollywood than Webb has.
Allen's explanation didn't come across as convincing or even sincere. Though, as Russert kept on Allen about Confederate flags and nooses, Allen did say he has also grown a lot in the last few years, even taking a civil rights pilgrimage to Selma. Montgomery and Birmingham.
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