Labor's race card against Allen may backfire

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

A new series of AFL-CIO-backed ads meant to smear Republican Senate candidate George Allen as a racist are renewing GOP charges that Democratic opponent Tim Kaine is tied closely to labor, a dirty word in many circles of the right-to-work state.

Worker's Voice, the labor-backed political action committee, Thursday announced plans to run four different ads against Allen that touch on old racism charges. They feature his "Macaca" comment that cost him his Senate seat in 2006 and reports he once had a noose and Confederate flag in his office.

The labor attack, however, has given Allen's campaign a chance to use labor against Kaine, recently head of the Democratic Party which is closely allied with Big Labor. When asked about the new ads, the Allen campaign was quick to point out the Kaine-labor relationship to use it against him in the right-to-work state that bars workers from being forced to join unions.

"It is disappointing to see that Tim Kaine and his union allies would stoop to this level rather than talk about the very serious issues facing Virginia families and small businesses," Emily Davis, spokeswoman for Allen, told Secrets. "It's ironic that the very labor unions leveling these attacks are the same ones that Tim Kaine worked so closely with as DNC Chairman and that stand in direct opposition to the Right-to-Work laws that give Virginia a crucial economic advantage in encouraging investment and attracting new jobs," she added.