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In the Zone

When It Comes to Football Parlance, Sen. George Allen Moves the Chains

Both politics and football have a language of their own, but what happens when the two dialects merge into one? You get Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, former University of Virginia quarterback and son of a legendary football coach. We’re sure that Allen is as excited about the 2003 NFL season as anyone, but it doesn’t take gridiron action to get him rolling. Following is a sampling of some of his choice quotes combining his two passions.

“I call [Committee on Committees Chairman] John Kyl [R-Ariz.] the commissioner because I look at all of this like draft choices.”
On committee assignments
Roll Call, Jan. 25, 2001

“It’s a new field. … To get a first down you have to go 20 yards to get where you wanted to get before. It’s a 200-yard field rather than a 100-yard field.”
Referring to the need to compensate for now-banned soft money
Roll Call, March 19, 2003

“We don’t need an intra-squad scrimmage in Pennsylvania.”
Opposing a GOP primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter by Rep. Pat Toomey
Release, Feb. 28, 2003

“They are rugby shirts because I played rugby, as well as football, and it is a great amount of camaraderie, fun, competition and teamwork. … They are the shirts to remind everyone they need to stick together as a team.”
On a shirt distributed to Republican Senators
Roll Call, Jan. 27, 2003

“We don’t have a margin of error in the Senate. … We’ll have to figure out how to play the team role.”
On the GOP’s narrow 51-49 majority
Roll Call, March 24, 2003

“We’re getting 4 yards every play. If you’re getting 4 yards every play — even if the field’s 300 yards long — you’re going to keep moving down the field.”
Explaining that Republicans were making progress on judicial nominations, despite Democratic filibusters
Roll Call, May 7, 2003

Democrats had committed “a personal foul here.”
On the Democratic filibuster that led Miguel Estrada to pull his name from consideration
The New York Times, Sept. 5, 2003

“There’s no longer the corporate skyboxes you can sell. … You have to sell individual game seats, game by game.”
On post-soft-money fundraising efforts
USA Today, Aug. 21, 2003

“Now understand I come from a football family and you never predict it and you have to respect your opponents, but you know what the voters are going to look at is: What’s your record of performance? Not the path that’s concocted by these political consultant buzzards, but ‘What’s your record of performance?’”
On President Bush’s chances for re-election
“Face the Nation,” June 22, 2003

“This is even before the pre-season. We haven’t even had the intra-squad scrimmages of primaries and nominations.”
When asked about expanding the majority in 2004
Congress Daily, Nov. 26, 2002

“What you do in the off-season determines how well you do during the season.”
Saying that what the party does in 2003 will determine 2004 accomplishments
Congress Daily, Nov. 26, 2002

“It would be like lining up to kick a field goal and having the goal post moved after you kick the ball.”
Claiming a Senate bill was unfair to Virginia’s peanut farmers
Richmond Times Dispatch, Dec. 10, 2001

“The future is now.”
Quoting his father, the late George Allen, who led the Washington Redskins from 1971 to 1977
Multiple occasions

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