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Gordon Smith Suggests Obama Supports Him

Oregon Democrats have no fear: Barack Obama supports your candidate for U.S. Senate, even if incumbent Sen. Gordon Smith's latest ad leads viewers to think otherwise:

"Who says Gordon Smith helped lead the fight for better gas mileage and a cleaner environment? Barack Obama!" the ad's announcer declares. "Truth" is a 30-second spot that also cites Oregon Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski's support of Smith's bipartisan efforts on energy legislation.

But Obama does not support Smith's reelection bid.

"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," says Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton. "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."

This is the first example we've seen of a Republican airing an ad that casts Obama positively, in the hopes of winning voter support. Considering how anti-Obama ads backfired in recent special congressional elections -- and the record crowds Obama attracted to an Oregon campaign rally -- Smith might be helped by admitting his political "crush on Obama."

But his most recent ad is one of several that stresses his bipartisan appeal.

"Guts and Independence" stars former congresswoman Elizabeth Furse and State Sen. Avel Gordly, both of whom are Democratic supporters of Smith:

"He listens, has an open mind, and follows his conscious," Gordly says.

"Like being one of the first to stand up to George Bush and other Republicans to end this war," adds Furse.

"Middle Ground" also portrays Smith as a centrist and emphasizes his bipartisan work on popular issues:

Some highlights:

"Moderate. Independent. Bipartisan," the ad's announcer says.

"Working with Republicans and Democrats for stem cell research, health care for working families, renewable energy and a cleaner environment."

"The National Journal ranks Smith at the center of the Senate."

Smith's earlier ads attacked Merkley's record. The shift to a bipartisan message comes as the gap between Smith and Merkley is expected to tighten now that independent John Frohnmayer has dropped out of the race. The race is listed on The Fix's recent Friday Line assessment of competitive Senate races, while The Rothenberg Political Report gives Smith a slight edge.

-- Ed O'Keefe

By Ed O'Keefe |  June 24, 2008; 8:05 PM ET Barack Obama
Previous: Clinton Made Comments Similar to Charlie Black's | Next: If Obama is 'Dr. No,' Does That Make McCain 007?

Comments

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What an opportunist! First he flip flops on the Iraq war right after the mid-term election send a warning shot to all Republicans. All of a sudden, the Iraq invasion was a terrible mistake and the war has been horribly prosecuted. Gee Gordon, where was the foresight, leadership when it mattered? Smith voted with Bush greater than 90% of the time.

Now that he's seen more than 75,000 people at the biggest Obama Rally in the country in Portland, he can't get close enough to his buddy, Obama. "Oh yeah, we're great friends and work together all the time! I'm with him!"

Smith will lose and lose big in November.

Posted by: thebob.bob | June 25, 2008 12:37 PM

Please note that there is a second flap because Smith was not actually "one of the first" to oppose the Iraq war (in 2006). He was one of the first Republicans.

Posted by: SelenesMom | June 25, 2008 1:54 PM

75 thousand people show up for free concert not for Obama, so stop this idiotic comment. Obama now is changing His mine about Iraq, His OIL bodys will not let Him to pool Our troops out!!! Obama just sell us to FISA, and support Bush on spying!!!So far He change His plans anf promises at list 4 times. He will screw us a big time.If You can see this, then You are a lost case!

Posted by: babalu123 | June 25, 2008 4:20 PM

Gordon Smith flopped on drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife refuge. He's a tough guy to trust.

Posted by: Timothy J. | June 26, 2008 1:22 AM

"75 thousand people show up for free concert not for Obama, so stop this idiotic comment."

Sorry, IMO the idiotic comment is yours. 75K people do not show up for free concerts at Waterfront Park in Portland. I know, I in a condo there. 50K do show up for a paid/donation jazz fest every year. I know that there was a warm-up band at Obama's rally, but I have no idea who they were.

I, for one just hope the 'Obama-effect" knocks out a truly slime-ball Senator by the name of Gordon Smith.

Posted by: Maxx | June 29, 2008 8:05 PM

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