In the state where President Bush has his lowest popularity ratings in the nation, the incumbent Republican senator is reaching across the aisle and groping for the coattails of Barack Obama.
Sen. Gordon Smith, a two-term moderate in a state with a history of embracing centrist Republicans such as Mark Hatfield, has put the Democratic candidate for president in not one, not two, but three of his television ads.
Smith is also running ads featuring liberal Massachusetts Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. One even suggests that Oregon's other Senator, Democrat Ron Wyden, is somehow endorsing Smith over challenger Jeff Merkley, prompting Wyden to demand the ad's removal.
And then there are the requisite smears…
The most notorious spot showed Merkley sloppily eating a hot dog while answering a question from the Republican operative who was filming him about the Russian invasion of Georgia. The words "Need a moment?" appear on-screen.
The spot, made by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, aired so relentlessly that Smith eventually condemned it. His own ads paint Merkley as hard on seniors and soft on rapists.
But since neither negativity nor liberal impersonations have helped Smith's sagging poll numbers, the only remaining option is to combine the two.
And then airing ads attacking himself for such pathetic behavior.
Tags: Gordon Smith, Oregon