A. telling a story in which the n-word is liberally used, or
B. driving through a black neighborhood, flaunting rifles and yelling racial epithets?
I'm going with 'B.' So why did Chris Matthews devote the first half of this afternoon's "Hardball" to the n-word story, and not one second to the driving-through-the-black-neighborhood story?
You don't suppose, do you, that it could have anything to do with the fact that 'A' concerns Republican George Allen, and 'B' his Dem challenger, James Webb?
Matthews opened Hardball with an extended segment featuring Patricia Waring, who in 1978 was apparently the wife of the coach of the University of Virginia rugby club team. She claims that, attending one game, she overheard George Allen telling a story in which he repeatedly used the n-word. She says she confronted him about it, asking him not to use the word.
Waring acknowledged that she is a registered Democrat and party volunteer.
After the Waring interview, Matthews pored over the implications for Allen's political prospects with guests Howard Fineman of Newsweek, Matthew Continetti of the Weekly Standard, MSNBC analyst Craig Crawford and Mike Allen of Time magazine.
At the same time, a Washington Post story that Rush Limbaugh discussed today [that only managed to make it into WaPo's 'B' section, in contrast with the front-page treatment the Post accorded the Allen allegations] contains some shocking assertions.
Dan Cragg describes himself as "a longtime friend of Webb's who worked for him when he was assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan." He told the Post that in addition to hearing Webb use the n-word in his presence, Webb told him that when he was a student at USC in Los Angeles:
"[Webb and friends] 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 them [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."
- Story on Allen's alleged use of n-word: first 27 minutes of this evening's Hardball.
- Story on Webb's alleged driving through black neighborhood brandishing rifle and hurling racial epithets: not one second.