Earlier this week, RNC Chairman Michael Steele defended himself against the heavy criticism of his stewardship over the GOP’s national committee by saying that he has “a slimmer margin for error” as chairman because he is African-American. “Barack Obama has a slimmer margin. A lot of folks do,” said Steele. “It’s a different role for, you know, for me to play and others to play. That’s just the reality of it.” Yesterday, former Virginia senator George Allen, who is said to be “eyeing a rematch” against Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) in 2012, was asked if he agreed with Steele’s assertion. Allen, who lost his Senate seat after referring to an Indian-American as “macaca,” said that he doesn’t “care what his skin pigmentation is“:
WARREN: “He [Steele] says he gets extra scrutiny because of the color of his skin, that there is less room for error because he’s black. Do you buy that?”
ALLEN: “I don’t care what his skin pigmentation is. Understand that I grew up in football families. You don’t care about someone’s race or religion or ethnicity. You care about can they do the job. I think Michael, I like Michael. When I was chair of the Senate Campaign, I’d have Michael speak because I think he’s a good, enthusiastic leader regardless of his race.”
This isn’t the first time Allen has claimed that sports taught him to be colorblind. Last year, he said, “In sports, what you have is a level playing field…you don’t care about race, all you care about is who can help you win.” But Allen’s repeated attempts to claim that sports taught him tolerance are surprising, considering that some of his old football teammates say that he “repeatedly used an inflammatory racial epithet and demonstrated racist attitudes toward blacks” when they played together.