Gordon Smith likes to describe himself as a uniter, not a divider, but his campaign is running an ad aimed at antagonizing rural Oregonians against those durn pinko elitists in Portland.
The ad, which you can see here, begins with the words: "Too often it's Portland first, the rest of Oregon last. Jeff Merkley makes it worse. No to more water for farmers. No to 4,000 new timber jobs. Merkley even closed the state's only office of rural policy.
"No wonder the Farm Bureau gave Merkley an F. All of Oregon needs a voice. Not just Portland."
"Stop trying to pit urban and rural Oregonians against each other for your own political gain," the Merkley campaign responded in a "Memo to Gordon Smith." "All of us Oregonians are in this together, whether we live in Portland or Jeff's hometown of Myrtle Creek, we share the same desire for change. ... This election isn't about Oregonians living in cities or rural communities, it's about what YOU are going to do serve the whole state. Merkley has proposed a detailed agenda to help Oregonians living in every corner of the state."
"Here's an ad you won't be seeing if you live in Portland," writes Kari Chisholm on BlueOregon. "I guess Gordon Smith really isn't about healing the urban/rural divide any more. Nothing like going straight for the us-versus-them attack ads to prove what kind of politician you are.
"Shows you just how desperate his campaign has become; he's abandoning the very core of his brand identity ('a bipartisan problem solver who works for all of Oregon')."
And Chisholm couldn't resist taking another dig at Smith, chiding him for not knowing how Portland got its name:
"It's a story that every third-grader in Oregon knows. As recounted by PDXHistory.com: 'Portland got its name when Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove flipped a coin in 1845. Lovejoy was from Massachusetts and he wanted to name the new settlement Boston. Pettygrove was from Maine and wanted to name the new town Portland. Pettygrove won the coin toss two out of three times and the rest as they say is history.'"
But in an interview on OPB News yesterday, Chisholm goes on to point out, Smith said: "Portland is called Portland because it's a Port."
"No, Senator Smith, it's not," writes Chisholm. "Portland is called Portland because the city's founder, Francis Pettygrove, won a coin toss. Otherwise, we'd be Boston.
"This is just embarrassing."