In the modern world everybody's supposed to be entitled to 15 minutes of fame, but Jeff Merkley only got three minutes at the Democratic National Convention.
The Oregon senatorial candidate took the podium Wednesday afternoon at 5:06 Denver time and was finished with his speech at 5:09. He touched on all his standard campaign talking points - Republican Sen. Gordon Smith supports tax breaks for Big Oil at the expense of ordinary Americans, he's voted with George Bush 90% of the time, he and John McCain want to continue the "failed policies" of the Bush/Cheney administration.
Merkley did manage to get in a couple of good licks. The best one: "My opponent talks like Barack Obama but he votes like George Bush." The reference was to Smith invoking the Democratic presidential nominee (as well as Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic candidate) in his ads.
Smith is leading Merkley by eight points in the most recent Rasmussen Poll but Democrats would like nothing better than to pick off the last remaining Republican senator from the West Coast, and think they still have a shot at it.
It's doubtful that Merkley got much of a bump from his three-minute speech, which was seen only by people in the convention hall and those who might have been watching the streaming video on the Democratic convention website.
But he'll get more of a bump than Smith will from his appearance at the Republican National Convention - because Smith isn't going to make one. In fact, he's not even going.
Smith campaign spokesperson Lindsay Gilbride responded to Merkley's remarks by calling them "partisan."
"Jeff Merkley aired his divisive partisanship loud and clear today," she told politickeror.com.
Partisanship on display at a national party convention -- The Eye is shocked, SHOCKED, we tell you!
Yes, Lindsay, it's true that Jeff Merkley is a Democrat. What Gordon Smith is isn't exactly clear these days.