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Chatting With The Fix: Damage Control Time for Sen. Allen?

I spent an hour chatting online this morning but couldn't get to all of the questions I wanted to answer. A few of the best leftovers are below.

Baltimore: Have you read the profile of George Allen in the New Republic? It paints a very ugly picture -- especially of his relationships with his siblings. His sister, who wrote a book about life in the Allen family, says George was violently abusive to younger sibs--throwing one brother through a sliding glass door, breaking another brother's collarbone and, my favorite, hitting the sister's boyfriend in the head with a pool cue. When the reporter asked him about his sister's memories, Allen's weird reply was, "Well...she was the youngest. And a girl." I must admit, the whole piece gave me the willies.

The Fix: The piece, which was written by Ryan Lizza, has caused considerable controversy since it hit newsstands last week. (Here's a link to the story, though you'll need a New Republic password to read it in its entirety.) Sen. Allen and his closest advisers immediately dismissed the story as a "hit" piece by a liberal magazine.

To me, the most potentially damaging revelations in the story deal with Allen's fondness for the Confederate flag when he was a teenager. The Hotline's "On Call" blog caught up with Allen over the weekend, and he said that as he aged he realized the flag "means different things to different people."

I don't think the New Republic story does any real damage to Allen as he seeks a second term this November. It may, however, raise doubts among some within the Republican chattering class as they debate whom their party's next presidential nominee should be. Allen -- along with Arizona Sen. John McCain and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- remains in the top tier of 2008 Republicans regardless.

Washington, D.C.: Do you think that Rep. Sweeney's frat party scandal will have an impact on his race? I read on a blog that a local paper called on him to apologize to his constituents.

The Fix: Sweeney's escapades at a fraternity party at Union College (not in his district, by the way) won't to help him in his race against Kirsten Gillibrand (D), but it remains to be seen how much the incident will hurt him politically. Democrats had an eye on this Upstate New York district (the 20th) prior to Sweeney's gaffe because of the likely drubbing statewide Republicans will receive in the region come November. The district does have a Republican lean to it, however, as President Bush won it 54 percent to 46 percent over John Kerry in 2004.

Gillibrand, whose father is a powerful lobbyist in Albany, has raised more than $700,000 for the race and has over $500,000 on hand. Sweeney had $962,000 in the bank at the end of March.

Republicans insist that voters in the district know Sweeney and won't be shocked by this latest slip-up. Democrats see the boozy party pictures as encapsulating why a change needs to be made.

Boca Raton, Fla.: Chris, Can you give us the latest fix on Tammy Duckworth's campaign in Illinois? She is the courageous veteran who was severely wounded in Iraq.

The Fix: After winning the March 21 6th District primary, Duckworth has largely avoided the limelight as she seeks to refill her campaign coffers for the open-seat race against state Sen. Peter Roskam (R). At the end of March, Duckworth had $330,000 on hand as compared to $1.1 million for Roskam. By the numbers Roskam should start with an edge in this district, which gave Bush a 53 percent to 47 percent margin in 2004. But the national political climate should help neutralize the district's Republican tilt and Duckworth's story -- she lost both legs in Iraq when a rocket-propelled grenade landed at her feet -- is sure to draw national coverage. In the most recent Friday House Line, the race is ranked #16. (For more on Duckworth, make sure to read Post reporter Peter Slevin's terrific profile.)

Silver Spring, Md.: Do you think Matt Brown's withdrawal from the R.I. Senate race helps or hurts Lincoln Chafee? On the one hand, Sheldon Whitehouse can save his money for the general election. On the other, liberal independents might be more likely to vote in the Republican primary for Chafee. And Chafee is arguably in more danger in the primary than in the general. But how many people really would be choosing between voting in the Democratic and Republican primaries?

The Fix: As I have written in this space before, I think Brown's departure could help Chafee at the margins as non-affiliated voters might now be more inclined to pick a Republican ballot in the September primary. If only Republicans vote in the primary fight between Chafee and Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey, Laffey will win. The hope for Chafee is to convince a large number of independents, who under state law can vote in either primary, to pull a GOP ballot and vote for him.

Predicting a victor in a race where 30,000 people or less will vote is nearly impossible. But make no mistake, this is the most serious challenge a Senate incumbent has faced since Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter (R) narrowly beat back Rep. Pat Toomey (R) in 2004 or Rep. John Sununu (R) ousted Sen. Bob Smith (R) in New Hampshire's 2002 primary.

That said, if Chafee can survive the primary he has a real shot at holding the seat against former state Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse (D) in November.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 3, 2006; 4:02 PM ET
Categories:  Fix Notes  
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Next: Ohio's 18th: Analyzing Rep. Ney's Reelection Fight


I spent an hour chatting online this morning but couldn't get to all of the questions I wanted to answer. A few of the best leftovers are below.
I do not agree.For more info go to System.String[]

Posted by: krakow hotels | September 27, 2006 4:28 AM | Report abuse

Jake, Karen makes a good point, how come the media is not exposing all the Hillary baggage? How come Cizzilla has to snoop into years old junk to drag down George Allen? Is he part of a left wing conspiracy to try to clobber any leading GOP for 2008 in order to jack up the support for Democrats, (even Old Hill?)
Jake, dear boy, if the media laser beam shines on any Democrat, will you be able to defend that person or will you be dragging out the Republicans as just a bad, just a corrupt, no worthy of winning in 2008? It is going to be a long 2 years until the November 2008 election, heaven help our nation if we can survive all the nasty venom spewed by the Democrats and yes, even a few Republicans. It will be a bloodbath, without the bullets. Each side trying to kill the other politically, while the media will plaster all the muck and guck on their front pages to sell newspapers. If you want to restore some civility in the 2008 debate, let it start with ourselves, and what solutions our side can bring to the table. Name calling is easy, and Cizzilla is on the border line with the muckraking.

Posted by: Sheila | May 6, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

The article was a little slanted, it's not to hard to beet allen on the issues, as Webb and Miller will show also I seem to remember Allen having a black campaign manager for his first senate race or there was a least some prominent black person on his staff

Posted by: Goffman | May 4, 2006 10:57 PM | Report abuse

No Chris, what is damaging is that he displayed the Confederate flag as a politician and had a noose hanging from a tree as well. If he just went around with the Confederate flag when he was a teenager, he could say he didn't realize at the time how hurtful it was to a lot of people. But his love of the Confederacy is life long. And turns out he's half-FRENCH! That alone could sink him with the Republicans. Allen is going to have to address his pattern of racially insensitive behavior if he ever hopes to be president. The nation will not elect a Dixiecrat and he certainly behaves like one.

Posted by: Q | May 4, 2006 7:28 PM | Report abuse

As noted above, I don't want to see Allen win; but I'm taking everything in that article with a big grain of salt.

I don't know about Ryan Lizza's credentials or the marching orders which reporters receive at The New Republic; but, it didn't take long in reading it for me to come to the opinion that it was a veiled hatchet job.

If you can't see the slant in this piece, it's because you're standing on the slope.

There have to be better ways to defeat Allen than citing anything from this article.

Posted by: RI Native in DC | May 4, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

the most pathetic and amusing allen quote in the story is his lack of comprehension for the non-violence of the civil rights movement. He is litterally dumbfounded as to why they withstood such violence without reacting. Nonviolence is the core of Martin Luther King jr.'s legacy and his genius, and something Jesus stood for aswell. The fact that Allen can't comprehend its effectiveness and the morality is slightly disgusting

Posted by: Goffman | May 4, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

FairandBalanced? Your implication is that somehow the nature oof how she got her wounds in the tour of duty is relevant. Is it any less heroic it be in a helicopter that gets shot out of the sky? Is that really the best you can do to criticise a candidate you don't like? How slimy.

Posted by: Will | May 4, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Poor little moonbat republicans. They think the biggest problem the US faces is Hillary Clinton. :-)

Posted by: Will | May 4, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I hoped we had gotten over religious bigotry in politics 46 years ago when John Kennedy ran for President.

Should Kennedy have been saddled with all of the negative works written about the Catholic Church available at that time?

You should be ashamed!

Romney has enough of a public record on which to base a voting decision.

Posted by: RI Native in DC | May 4, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I urge all of you to take a close look at the montra of the Morman Church before you go crazy for Romney. No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brode would be a good start

Posted by: | May 4, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Karen: "What he did as a teenager? Grow up!" Bill Clinton smoked some weed as a teenager. The debate over whether he inhaled or not - as a teenager - was the focus of a GOP firestorm of fantastic proportions. To say that Allen's history - as a teenager - should now be ignored is hypocrisy of epic proportions.

I'm with the other posters: stick a fork in him, Allen is done.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | May 4, 2006 8:58 AM | Report abuse

CC writes: "she lost both legs in Iraq when a rocket-propelled grenade landed at her feet"

You should have read the link that you posted about Ms. D.. sorry, Congresswoman-to-be Duckworth, b/c the RPG didnt exactly "land at her feet". She was in the air in a Black Hawk helicopter riding shotgun, I believe, when they were hit. I mean she lost just abt all of both her legs, Chris, the least YOU can do is get the d@mn story right.

As for Allen, I'm sure the Republican party is getting worried about his Senate campaign. As they should be. What a total disaster the guy is. You can tell that people are fed up with these GOP sellouts.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | May 3, 2006 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Um... Karen? We were talking about George Allen. Try to concentrate.

Posted by: Jake | May 3, 2006 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Once again, insane Karen completely and conveniently ignores a rational question that was posed to her after she refers to throwing someone through a glass door, breaking a collar bone and hitting someone with a pool cue as "fighting with siblings".


Posted by: Ohio guy | May 3, 2006 7:34 PM | Report abuse

What is so odd, is that once again, Chris refuses to handle any bad democrat questions. Anthony Weiner curses up a storm will be portrayed as passion. A corrupt West Virginian democrat will come out as a man of the people. Look at what he picked as his best of his chat. Not one that will make a democrat look bad. I can't wait to see Chris with a garbage can on his head like Carville.

Posted by: Karen | May 3, 2006 7:23 PM | Report abuse

The best thing about Chris Cillizard and the liberal attack on Allen is to reinforce how stupid the press. Hillary threw things at her husband and secret service agents. That was less than a decade ago. I would have given her a pass, but don't you think going back 40 years is pathetic? Going after Allen just gives the real media (the internet) the right to comb through Queen Hillary's miserable life. If you want sibling between Hillary and Bill, the sibling issues will be a loser. We can bring up pardons for cash, drug sentence, pardoning your brother and his drug runnner buddy for drug offenses, etc.

Posted by: Karen | May 3, 2006 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I think Allen could get a pass if he admitted that he was an "idiot" as a teen for hurting his siblings. He should admit that he was out of control (if those things are true, he was very out of control). And, to say that his sister was the youngest and shrug it off, well it's disgusting. My brothers and I fought at times (as did my sisters and I), but no one ever did anything that violent. We could be rough, but the acts he allegedly committed are a completely different level. They're domestic violence.

I'd worry more about actual violence than the rebel flag (for which he did try to make amends, even though I think he's insincere in general).

I think his attitude is smug, and that's why he'll never be elected President.

Posted by: Kate | May 3, 2006 7:13 PM | Report abuse

If Allen's behavior extends into the governor's office or senate, this could cook him. That said, if it's contained to his youth, I doubt it will realign many voters. Seriously is a bedrock republican in Wise County, or NOW member in Arlington going to switch his/her vote over his high school hijinks?

We have a new poll out on EWM and you won't believe it:

Bush Solidifies Base: Tongues wag as 32% of U.S. turns into pillars of salt.

EWM- (May 2, 2006) The nation is reeling over a poll released today that shows the 32 percent of Americans that still approve of the president have turned into pillars of salt. The stunning discovery may account for the impervious few that still regard the Bush years as a success, despite abundant stimuli indicating otherwise.

While most of America fretted over the fate of pig-headed Uncles or nephews that had joined the College Republicans, the news was met with curious indifference by the White House. "Around here, we call that solidifying the base," chuckled an Administration source...

Posted by: The Eyewitness Muse | May 3, 2006 7:04 PM | Report abuse

THS: Allen has little character to reveal. He's a Young Republican who never grew up. He may never have even had an original thought.

That's a great caricature of him on the front of The New Republic. If Buck Owens' death left open any concert dates, here's the person who should take his place - permanently. "Mr. Jefferson" just might approve of that.

Posted by: RI Native in DC | May 3, 2006 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I found that description of Allen's interactions with his sobering and, to say the least, off-putting. As J. Crozier said, that kind of violence goes well beyond ordinary fights between kids.

Allen strikes me as essentially false. He says what he needs to say to be consistent w/ his political persona, but I never have the sense that I am hearing from an authentic thinking, feeling human being. Perhaps he's trying to keep from revealing his real character.

Posted by: THS | May 3, 2006 6:28 PM | Report abuse

As much as I'd like to see Allen lose, unless there's something recent to pin on him, I doubt that "family recollections" and the rebel flag issue will have any effect.

As for Sweeney, he should lose just for wearing the Evil Yankees hat.

Posted by: RI Native in DC | May 3, 2006 6:22 PM | Report abuse


"throwing one brother through a sliding glass door, breaking another brother's collarbone and, my favorite, hitting the sister's boyfriend in the head with a pool cue."

This is a little different than "fought with his siblings". This is violent rage given physical expression. I'm sorry, but this isn't the temperment that I want for someone who would have a nuclear arsenal and the most powerful armed forces in the world at his fingertips.

I'm not saying all Republicans are scum or whatever, but I AM saying this isn't exactly the sort of thing people want to see, even as a young man, in someone who is running for the most powerful position in the entire freaking world. It is the right that is constantly preaching about family values. Is repeated physical violence towards younger siblings a family value? Would this man make a good role model?

I'm just saying that maybe your side can come up with someone that might appeal to your evangelical Christian base a little bit more than this stuff?

Posted by: J. Crozier | May 3, 2006 5:37 PM | Report abuse

The liberals are so pathetic. What he did as a teenager? Grow up! He fought with his siblings? BREAKING NEWS! What a bunch of lunatics. You got Hillary fabricating who she was named after, that her daughter "fled debris" on 9/11 when she was 50 blocks north, her fake joining the marines story, cattle futures, conspiracy theories, inability to keep her husband from straying, hit pieces,and you got a teen with a flag???

Posted by: Karen | May 3, 2006 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I wish I had gotten to party with a c-man in college.

Posted by: OD | May 3, 2006 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Bye Bye Mr. Allen. Your chances of getting the nod for the GOP nomination is now done. Say what you will about the New Republic, but I don't see how is going to say his sister is a liar. Take that with the report that Robertson said there is NO WAY the religious right will support Romney. Looks like McCain is flying solo at this point.

Posted by: Andy R | May 3, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

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