The Battle Of The N-Bombs In Virginia

Democrats have been coming out of the woodwork to make dubious accusations that George Allen used the N-Word and unfortunately, those are difficult charges to fend off. After all, how do you prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you didn’t say something 30 years ago in a one-on-one conversation?

Well now, James Webb has his own N-bomb problem:

“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.

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“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.”

Cragg said Webb told him the Watts story during a 1983 interview for a Vietnam veterans magazine. Cragg, who described himself as a Republican who would vote for Allen, did not include the story in his article. He provided a transcript of the interview, but the transcript does not contain the ROTC story. He said he still remembers the exchange vividly more than 20 years later.

…Cragg, a former Army sergeant major, described himself as a longtime friend of Webb’s who worked for him when he was assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan. Cragg said he approached the Allen campaign through a friend after hearing Webb’s answer to the Times-Dispatch reporter’s question about using the N-word.

“The fact is he has. He used it in my presence,” Cragg said. “I don’t think he’s a racist any more than George Allen is. But he’s not frank in admitting that he grew up in a culture where that was common and he used it.”

Now, both candidates in the Virginia Senate race have these accusations fluttering around their heads and frankly, it hurts Webb a lot more since as a Democrat, he would be expected to capture the overwhelming majority of the black vote. Are black voters going to turn out in large numbers to vote for a guy who has had these sort of accusations leveled at him? That certainly seems unlikely.

Still, while this buffs up Allen’s chances of getting reelected to the Senate, his presidential ambitions have taken an enormous hit. That’s not only because of all the racial allegations swirling around his campaign, but because he has been having such a hard time with a political novice like James Webb. If, as a politician, you can’t easily dispatch someone like James Webb in your home state, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that you can win a presidential campaign against a more experienced opponent.

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