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Snuff Said

Good for Sen. George Allen (R-Va.)! The GOP presidential aspirant from Virginia might be trying to kick his nasty little habit that involves spitting toxic, black gunk into a plastic foam cup. And the best part is: He doesn’t even have to give up smokeless tobacco!

In addition to — not in lieu of — his usual dipping product, Copenhagen, Allen has been trying a form of tobacco called Snus. It’s sort of like snuff; you put a pinch between the lip and gum. But unlike most dipping products, it comes in a little pouch and apparently there is no urge or need to spit — which certainly would be more Senatorial, and a heck of a lot more presidential.

Allen’s spokesman, David Snepp, once told HOH that the Senator typically goes through a can of Copenhagen “every three or four days.” But lately, according to Snepp, Allen has been enjoying Camel Snus and Stonewall Hard Snuff, both of which get Allen around that unbecoming spitting problem.

Allen has been spotted in hearings and even on the Senate floor dipping and, yes, dear heavens, spitting into a plastic foam cup. (Most of the brass spittoons underneath the desks in the Senate chamber have long been removed, so what else was he supposed to do?)

But perhaps with the 2008 presidential race creeping ever closer, Allen may be exploring the idea of abandoning the practice of spitting, at least in public. Good thing R.J. Reynolds is test-marketing its Camel Snus this summer, selling it in only two cities.

Snepp told us that “thanks to a Senator I won’t reveal, Sen. Allen of late has been occasionally enjoying Snus.”

Hmmm, could that be a Senator from North Carolina, where R.J. Reynolds is based? Snepp wouldn’t say. But he took aim at our informant, who had hinted, or so we inferred, that Allen was trying some sort of tobacco cessation aid.

“Your ‘sources’ are as loose as a tobacco leaf in a pouch of Red Man,” quipped Snepp, a native North Carolinian. “As Sen. Allen likes to remind folks, nothing needs reformin’ like another person’s habit. That’s a paraphrase from a famous writer who probably would’ve enjoyed Snus himself.”

And we are assuming, since we didn’t hear otherwise, that if the Snus was a gift from the Reynolds tobacco company to Allen or the Senator who turned him onto the product, the value of it should be under the $50 allowed by Senate rules.

Lieberman, Dissed by Pollster? We thought it worth noting that Doug Schoen, pollster for the Gore-Lieberman 2000 presidential campaign and for the abortive 2004 presidential campaign of Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), recently maxed out in personal campaign contributions to ... Lieberman’s current Senate Democratic primary opponent, Ned Lamont.

Federal Election Commission records show that Schoen gave $2,100 to Lamont on March 7.

Tom Swan, Lamont’s campaign manager, told us, “Doug and Ned have known each other for a very long time.”

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