Smith vs. Merkley: Punch and Counterpunch

Over in Portland and the Valley, Gordon Smith's TV ads portray him as a friendly, mild-mannered, bipartisan sort with a strong tinge of green. On

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Over in Portland and the Valley, Gordon Smith's TV ads portray him as a friendly, mild-mannered, bipartisan sort with a strong tinge of green. On the other side of the Cascades, the spin is a little different.


In a new video spot designed for the Bend and Medford markets only, a shirt-sleeved, hard-hatted Gordon is shown talking with loggers and farmers and taking a swipe at those gol-durn environmentalists who want to "lock up" the land.

"I'm Gordon Smith and I believe no part of our state should ever be left behind," Smith says in voiceover. "Some say lock the land up and the people out. No way. Because no one loves the land more than the farmers, loggers and ranchers who care for it. I approved this message because what some call 'the rest of Oregon' we simply call 'home.'"

The Jeff Merkley campaign went right after Smith with a counter-video interspersing the original footage with shots of Smith cozying up to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and accusing him of selling out rural Oregonians to the oil industry.

"Smith opposed tax relief for farmers, loggers and ranchers and supported billions in giveaways for big oil companies," the Merkley video charges. "Smith failed to convince a single Republican colleague to reauthorize timber payments for Oregon. Smith locked out farmers and ranchers by opposing country of origin labeling on the food they produce."

Then comes the cruelest cut: The screen shows an aerial view of Smith's home on Country Club Drive (no, we did not make that address up) in the spendy Washington suburb of Bethesda, MD - a home worth an estimated $4.2 million.

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