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Convention Puzzle: Where's Gordo? 

Gordon Smith skipped the Republican National Convention in St. Paul this week, saying he needed to hit the campaign trail in Oregon. But he seems

Gordon Smith skipped the Republican National Convention in St. Paul this week, saying he needed to hit the campaign trail in Oregon. But he seems to have spent most of the week holed up at home in Pendleton.

The Salem Statesman-Journal quoted Smith campaign spokesperson Lindsay Gilbride as saying the senator "is spending the week campaigning across the state - from Pendleton to Portland to Hood River to Wallowa - meeting with supporters, folks on the street and talking to local media."

"Okay, we know that Gordo traveled a few hundred feet from his gated compound near Pendleton to what looks to have been a nearly empty coffee shop in Pendleton yesterday," writes Kevin Kamberg on the BlueOregon blog. "The courage it took to face a friendly audience of (two?) neighbors boggles the mind ...

"The alleged four-stop campaign 'across the state' is literally just that - four stops across the Northern edge of Oregon. Only one of which is west of the Cascades. With only slightly more creative thinking he could have avoided Oregon altogether by skirting the southern edge of Washington."

Smith is one of 10 GOP senators facing re-election this year who didn't make it to the convention. A cynic might say they want to avoid being associated with George Bush, John McCain and the Republican Party. But The Eye, not being a cynic, prefers to think they were all just really busy.

Meanwhile, BlueOregon has posted video of an interview with KOIN-TV in Portland in which Smith praises Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, aka the Alaskan pit bull, as having "the right stuff."

"I believe that many women will relate to her as a mother, as a wife, but in national life as a very competent administrator of a state and of her town," Smith says.

"What 'right stuff' does he mean?" asks Karla Axtman. "Pro-choice (like most Oregonians)? Nope. Tells the truth about her positions? Not so much. The ability to speak to a mass audience and actually talk about something substantive? Not yet."

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