Allen looks to turn heritage issue positive

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It's been a hard month or so for foot-in-mouth Sen. George Allen. First he utters the word "macaca" at an Indian-American worker for political foe Jim Webb. The press raps him for being a bigot. Then this week, hit with a couple of questions about his mom during a debate, he fumbles in revealing that his mother is of Jewish heritage. The press suggests he's embarrassed to have Jewish blood in him.

It was probably the short few words uttered to him by Jewish Sen. Joe Lieberman on the floor of the Senate this week that helped him see a way to turn the latest controversy positive.

Lieberman's words: "Welcome to the tribe."

Funny, but meaningful, and now I hear that Allen plans to use the controversy over his mother to build a positive "diversity campaign" as he runs for re-election and eyes a 2008 presidential bid. Just what such a campaign is isn't clear, but look for him to expand his support for African-American initiatives and religious groups.

"This was a life-changing event," says one insider of the revelation by Allen's mother. "He'll be more forceful on issues of opportunity and diversity."