Desperate Smith Campaign Launches Hypocritical Attack

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Since Republican Gordon Smith doesn't want to address the real concerns of Oregonians, he's serving them another plate full of mud. In Smith's latest attack ad he calls House Speaker Jeff Merkley a hypocrite. More below the fold....

Full disclosure, I am the netroots director for OR-Sen candidate Jeff Merkley

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OR-Sen: Sen. Gordon Smith "Too Busy" To Be McCain's Oregon Co-Chair

Gordon Smith was one of John McCain's earliest supporters in the senate and was listed as one of McCain's Oregon co-chairs as early as November, 2006. But now that he's in a tough battle to retain his seat and on a mission to distance himself from anything resembling a Republican, Smith is withdrawing as honorary Oregon co-chair of the McCain campaign. Who remains as McCain's Oregon co-chairs? Well, the most prominent elected Republicans in the state absent one certain senator.

For the first time since he became a senator in 1997, Oregon Republican Gordon Smith won't be on the leadership team of the GOP presidential campaign in Oregon. The question is whether this is part of his effort to play down his Republican party identification.

John McCain announced that former Oregon Gov. Vic Atiyeh will be honorary chairman of the campaign in Oregon. Every other top GOP official in the state - including Congressman Greg Walden and the Republican leaders of the Legislature - are listed as honorary co-chairs.

In an amusing statement, the John McCain campaign insisted it was no big deal considering how little time Smith will have to devote to working on the McCain campaign.

Rick Gorka, a spokesman for McCain, said Smith played an informal role as part of the "kitchen cabinet at the national level" for McCain. He said he understood why Smith was too busy to work on McCain's campaign in Oregon this year.

Umm, "work on" his campaign? Smith is essentially taking his name off a list of honorary co-chairs, which as far as I can tell requires nothing of him other than lending his name for use by the campaign. In his response to the move, the Democrat challenging Smith, Jeff Merkley, called it what it is:

"Rather than be straight with Oregon voters about his right-wing agenda, Senator Smith is willing to throw his good friend John McCain under the bus to win reelection," said House Speaker Jeff Merkley. "Gordon Smith believes he can rewrite history. He is willing to do or say anything this year to get reelected."

In related news, SEIU is up on the air in Oregon and New Hampshire hitting Sens. Smith and Sununu on their ties to big oil & Bush, and pharmaceutical companies respectively. Check out the anti-Smith ad below:

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Smith Won't Go!

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As Josh announced last week, we're keeping track of which sitting Republican senators and GOP senate challengers are going to be making an appearance in Minneapolis at the Republican National Convention and today another one bites the dust: Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon.

Smith's spokeswoman, Lindsay Gilbride, said Tuesday that Smith will campaign in Oregon during the convention over the Labor Day weekend.

"It's a rare week where the Senate will not be in session, and it's more beneficial for Senator Smith to focus on the campaign than spend time in Minneapolis," Gilbride said.

But just in case you were tempted to read anything into the decision...

"Senator Smith 100 percent supports John McCain's candidacy for president and will take the opportunity of a week when the Senate is not in session to focus on his own campaign," she said.

Smith, of course, did attend the conventions in 2000 and 2004.

It's funny to see so-called moderates Smith and Collins running scared from the convention since McCain has signaled his intention to use the event to attempt to re-brand the GOP as a party friendly to independents and women. The irony is that anyone who actually does have appeal with those groups won't set foot near Minneapolis that week because they know the association with the party brand and the president are toxic to their re-election hopes. So, good luck with that, Johnny Mac.

Perhaps even funnier, though, is that the one faux moderate attending the convention is only doing so because he has no choice: hometown hack Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman.  

Here's how the tally now stands:

Help us complete the tally. If you find public news articles or announcements about whether one of the candidates will go to the GOP convention, drop the quote or link in the comments and if you call one of their campaign offices and politely ask for an answer, email us at willtheygo(at)gmail(dot)com.

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OR-Sen: Gordon Smith Still Trying To Pretend He's A Democrat

As expected, we're seeing Republicans all over the country try to blur the distinctions between themselves and their Democratic opponents this cycle, but none is more brazen about it than Oregon Senator Gordon Smith. You might recall the ad in which Smith, the Republican sitting senator, claimed to be the true agent of change versus his (then) two potential Democratic challengers. And then, in late June, once Jeff Merkley was the nominee, Smith released an ad in which he essentially implied that he had been endorsed by Barack Obama. The Obama campaign immediately released a statement that read:

"Barack Obama has a long record of bipartisan accomplishment and we appreciate that it is respected by his Democratic and Republican colleagues in the Senate. But in this race, Oregonians should know that Barack Obama supports Jeff Merkley for Senate. Merkley will help Obama bring about the fundamental change we need in Washington," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

Obama might want to break open that statement again now that Smith has featured him AND John Kerry in his most recent ad. Watch it below and see if you can spot the Republican.

One of the more satisfying things about Smith's embrace of Barack Obama as political cover has got to be the fact that Smith was an early supporter of John McCain's. You don't hear Smith touting that endorsement anymore. But perhaps even more satisfying is that since Smith began running these Smith = Obama ads, Merkley managed to gain 11 points on Smith. So, please, by all means, keep it up, Senator.

Why would Oregonians want to vote for a fake Democrat when they can send the real thing to Washington?

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Independent Party of Oregon Nominates Merkley!!!

Yipee! The Independent Party of Oregon has just nominated Oregon Senate candidate Jeff Merkley! This is great news for the Merkley Campaign considering the Independent Party boasts over 22,000 members and is growing rapidly. The Independent Party is now the third largest party in the state which is pretty impressive considering they just formed back in 2007. John Frohnmayer had been running for the Independent Party's nomination but he bowed out of the race back in June. More below the fold....

Full disclosure, I am the netroots director for OR-Sen candidate Jeff Merkley

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