WASHINGTON – Trying to help two Republicans in trouble, President Bush will campaign next week for a congressman who admitted to having an affair and a senator accused of using racist language and keeping a Confederate flag.
"The president made a commitment and he's going to fulfill the commitment," White House press secretary Tony Snow said. "The president supports their quest for election, and he understands what's going on."
Sherwood had been considered to have a safe seat for re-election until a woman filed suit against him and alleged that he had choked her during an altercation at his Capitol Hill apartment. He admitted to having an affair with the woman, 35 years his junior, but denied hurting her. They settled the case out of court.
"Mr. Sherwood has certainly admitted to what is going on," Snow said. "And the president also believes that we're all sinners, we all seek forgiveness and, in this particular case, he's supporting Don Sherwood's candidacy."
Allen has spent weeks rebutting accusations he used racist language and liked Confederate symbols. The furor began Aug. 11, when the senator called a volunteer for his opponent "macaca," considered by some to be a racial slur, during a political rally.
"George Allen is not a bigot. Period," Snow said. "And you've had a number of black leaders who've come forward to make the point.
"So the president, absolutely, supports his candidacy," Snow said.
Snow suggested that Allen's opponent, Democrat Jim Webb, was vulnerable for things he has said. Webb, a former Navy secretary under President Reagan, argued in a 1979 magazine article that women are not fit to command men in battle and criticized their admission to the U.S. Naval Academy.