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Oregon: Smith Seeks Link With Obama in New TV Ad

Sen. Gordon Smith (R) touts his partnership with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) in his latest television spot in his bid to win a third Senate term.

The 30-second spot, running on broadcast television in the Portland and Eugene markets only, focuses on Smith and Obama’s work on raising federal automobile mileage standards. The spot also highlights the praise Smith received for this effort from Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D).

Smith is running against state Speaker Jeff Merkley (D).

“Who says Gordon Smith led the fight for better gas mileage and a cleaner environment?” the ad’s voice-over says as the spot opens. “Barack Obama.”

“He joined with Gordon and broke through a 20-year deadlock to pass new laws that increase gas mileage for automobiles.

“Gov. Ted Kulongoski praised their bipartisan partnership on this critical issue.”

Democrats responded swiftly, with both the Merkley campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee recycling an Obama quote from May that likened Smith to President Bush: “Gordon Smith’s problem is that he rarely breaks away from George Bush and the Republican agenda that I think has done this country great damage.”

The Merkley campaign also referenced three of Smith’s Senate votes — in 2002, 2003 and 2005 — in which he sided with Bush on fuel standards.

However, the Smith campaign on Wednesday noted that this latest television ad references a bill to curb fuel standards that was jointly sponsored by Obama and Smith in 2006 and then reintroduced by the two Senators as two bills in 2007.

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