Bush helps Allen despite name-calling controversy

August 24, 2006|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

WASHINGTON -- President Bush followed through yesterday on plans to help raise campaign funds for a Republican senator who has been embroiled in a debate over his use of what many considered a slur against a man of Indian descent.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush had no qualms about attending a fundraiser for Sen. George Allen, a Virginia Republican.

On Aug. 11, Allen used the word macaca in referring to S.R. Sidarth, who was videotaping Allen at a campaign event. Sidarth was working for Allen's Democratic opponent, James H. Webb Jr.

Looking at Sidarth, Allen said, "This fellow over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca or whatever his name is, he's with my opponent, he's following us around everywhere. ... So let's give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."

The meaning of macaca quickly became a subject of debate. Democrats said it was no compliment. Macaques are a type of monkey, and the word is considered a slur in some countries.

Allen's campaign manager called the word a variation of "Mohawk," a reference to Sidarth's hairstyle. Allen at first said he made the name up, then recalled that he has a niece nicknamed "Maca Maca."

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