George Allen's Back
And Touting Thompson
Former Virginia Sen. George Allen used to tout his own "comonsense Jeffersonian principles" as the bedrock of his presidential ambitions.
Then "macaca" happened, and Allen's White House bid was over before it had begun. Now, the cowboy-boot wearing, tobacco-chewing politician has found another candidate who is hoping to use a bit of Southern appeal to win the presidency.
Allen was announced Monday as one of three national co-chairs of Fred Thompson's campaign.
Early last year, Allen himself was being touted as one of the leading conservatives in the race for president, a latter-day George Bush or Ronald Reagan. His fall from grace was completed when he lost reelection to James Webb.
"Last year seems like a long, long time ago," Allen said in an interview Monday. "Susan [his wife] and I met with Jeri [Thompson's wife] and Fred and want to help."
Allen said his support for his one-time colleague in the Senate was a natural one.
"If one has a proven record and has an authentic conservative record, as Fred Thompson does, you have a comfort level," said Allen. "Integrity and those principles for me matter a great deal."
And Thompson even sounds a bit like Allen. In his announcement speech just after Labor Day, Thompson said "I still have the same common-sense conservative beliefs I did when I ran in 1994."
Allen praised Thompson's sense of humor, his "authenticity" and his "genuine conservative record." The former Virginia senator said he will speak out on Thompson's behalf, help raise money and rustle up support.
"He realizes that all wisdom is not in Washington, Allen said of Thompson. "There's not much common sense in Washington, but there is outside of Washington."
Which may explain why Allen's attempt at a political rebirth is not aimed at another Senate seat, but rather a return to the governor's mansion, where he earned high marks as Virginia's chief executive in the mid-1990s.
Allen declined to speculate on his political future Monday, commenting on a 2009 governor's race only by saying that he had made no decisions but that "Susan and I have listened to a lot of people encouraging us to do that."
Still, his current political activities would suggest that he's attempting to refurbish his reputation in Virginia. He said he's spending his time now trying to help get Republican candidates elected to the General Assembly in November.
"I'm trying to help out candidates in Virginia," he said, mentioning GOP House member Dave Nutter in the New River Valley and "a fella named Omarh Rajah running for the school board in Chesterfield. We've got some really good folks running."
Sounds like a gubernatorial candidate, doesn't he?
--Michael D. Shear
October 9, 2007; 9:56 AM ET
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