Neither improper nor unprecedented

Here’s a footnote to the Washington Post’s story which claimed that John McCain’s “focus on Georgia raise[d] questions of propriety.” These questions, as far as one could tell from the story, were raised solely by the Obama campaign. One of them had to do with McCain’s request that Senators Lieberman and Graham travel to Georgia to assess the situation.

In a letter in today’s Post, Richard Allen, a foreign policy adviser to Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign and Ronald Reagan’s 1968 campaign, argues that sending Lieberman and Graham was “perfectly proper and responsible.” After all, the Russian invasion has thrust Georgia into the campaign, making it imperative that the candidates get the facts straight. The on-the-ground observations of two Senate veterans should assist McCain in this regard.

The Post article had asserted that McCain’s conduct in this crisis was “unprecedented” for a presidential candidate. But Allen points out that candidate Nixon sent former Pennsylvania governor William Scranton abroad to assess events pertaining to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, while candidate Reagan dispatched his running mate George H.W. Bush to China to talk with the Chinese leadership about a series of matters including policy towards Taiwan.

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