INTERVIEW: Former senator George Allen writes new book

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – He is a former senator and governor and now George Allen is adding author to his list of titles. His new book is called 'What Washington Can Learn From the World of Sports'.

Ryan Nobles: Governor Allen, welcome to First at 4:00. Thank you for being here.

George Allen: Good to be with you, Ryan.

Ryan Nobles: You talk about a number of themes in your book, but one of the things I notice you go back to a number of times is you discuss what you call America as a land of equal opportunity but not necessarily equal results. What does that mean? How it does apply to government and how do you get that from the world of sports?

George Allen: In the world of sports, I learned this growing up on the sidelines and training camps and locker rooms with my father and teams I played on, and it's Ameritocracy, a level playing feel, everyone has the equal opportunity to compete and succeed, you don't care about their religion, race, ethnicity, where they're from. That's the sort of Ameritocracy we should aspire to in our society, but too often government expects equal results when in sports there are winners and losers. You don't take a Steelers' Super Bowl Trophy and say let's give it to the Detroit Lions because they have never won a Super Bowl, So that Ameritocracy; to make sure team America or individual Americans can compete and succeed based on their own team work, their hard work, perseverance or their innovative leadership what is should determine winners and losers rather than manipulations or meddling from Washington.

Ryan Nobles: You talk a lot about your political fill is so in this book but you also talk about your own life chug some of your own experiences and of course the infamous macaca incident is one you talk about a lot in the book.

George Allen: Not a lot but it's in there.

Ryan Nobles:
In there, definitely, but I want to share with our viewers an excerpt from that and you say you thought the word macaca was a nonsense word. You thought if you had known the nickname would to be considered a racial slur, you wouldn't have said it. You go on to say that you apologized on the young man who took video of on you on the campaign trail and you take full responsibility for the remark and its aftermath. Some of your critics said it was impossible for you to not know that there wasn't a racial slur particularly because of your mother's North African roots. How would you respond?

George Allen: I would respond that it was a mistake. There was no malintent. I should never have brought the young man into it; he was following us around Virginia as a cameraman for my opponent. He never should brought him in. If I had any idea that word would be construed as a slur, I would never have said it. It was a made up word, a nonsense word and the campaign opposition was able to get into word origins and gotcha politics, don't drag my mother into it. My mother is an entomologist, she never heard of word either.

Ryan Nobles: Are you concern, you've had an esteemed career, a governor, a United States senator, are you concern it could be one of the defining moments of your political career?

George Allen: I regret it. It was a mistake and I take full responsibility for it. I think people will look at my record as a legislator, as a Governor, as U.S. senator and the purpose of the book is to say here of the principles I grew up learning and how they apply to make sure people in our country have solutions and ideas that allow them to achieve their dreams for themselves and their families, and so yes, that may be an issue for some folks, but I think most voters, and this is one of the many regrets of that incident, is that it took the campaign away from ideas and a record of performance, which I think most people in a campaign would like to hear.

Ryan Nobles: Right.

George Allen: Rather than that sort of an issue.

Ryan Nobles: The other big thing that's come from the release of this book is people think you do want to get back in the political fray; that you do want to run again. You have hedged your bets when people ask, specifically if you want to run for the former U.S. senate seat. How seriously are you considering it?

George Allen: There are many people who are elected officials and activists throughout Virginia who have been encouraging Susan and me to back into it. My political focus will be on the 2010 elections this year because I do think we need to get replacement in Washington when you see the spending and debt and counterproductive energy policies, which I talk about in the book and how we've been punting on first down on the energy policy and I propose a winning energy game plan for America. My answer as far as what I may do in the future and running is "perhaps," but I write in my book that in the event I do get involved running myself, I want to do it with Billy Kilmer Esque gusto, advocating positive constructive ideas that unite people and making sure America and Americans are more competitive in achieving their dreams.

Ryan Nobles: And you can see the former senator and governor is going to be at Big L's Sports Bar on Saturday signing the book.

See the video at right for the full interview.

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