Across party lines, for a life preserver

Maybe we should re-evaluate just how much trouble Oregon Republican Senator Gordon Smith is in. We have been assuming that, while he’s certainly hard-pressed in a tough political year, the odds remain somewhat in his favor for November.

But if he thought so, if he thought he wasn’t on the edge of loss, why would he run an ad like this?

So the presidential nominee of the other party is now serving as Smith’s character witness? Don’t believe even Idaho Democrats, desperate as they could sometimes be, ever slipped to trying that one.

This has been picked up by national blogs; the Talking Points Memo has run the reply line from the Barack Obama campaign, just to clarify things: “‘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.”

TPM also noted, “The ad is also further proof of just how far Smith will run away from the Republican brand in this blue state.” In your court, Oregon Republicans? (They might ask why Smith, who was one of John McCain’s early endorsers in the darkest days of that campaign, has run an ad aligning himself with Obama but not with McCain.)

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