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Merkley Takes a Swing at Humor, Almost Connects 

Jeff Merkley, Steve Novick's rival for the Democratic Senate nomination, has responded to Novick's funny "have a beer with Steve" ad by producing his own

Jeff Merkley, Steve Novick's rival for the Democratic Senate nomination, has responded to Novick's funny "have a beer with Steve" ad by producing his own humorous video.

Well, it's sort of humorous.

The one-minute video spoofs Merkley's rollover accident on icy Highway 20 on Jan. 24. It opens with a voiceover saying, "Running for the US Senate is a tough business. You've gotta keep moving."

Then we see Merkley in the front passenger seat of a Prius (not the same one that flipped last week, we assume) talking on a cell phone about the need to get our troops home from Iraq and fix health care.

Next we hear sound effects of a crash and see a newspaper headline reading: "Jeff Merkley in icy, roll-over car crash."

The next scene shows Merkley and his driver, David Dickey-Griffith, in the upside-down car, with Merkley still on the phone. "Yeah, we just flipped the car," Merkley says. "Yeah, it's just like the Bush economy - it's gone belly-up too. No, don't worry - it will not stop us from assembling the best grassroots team to put our nation back on track."

Okay, give them points for trying.

It didn't take long for Republicans, generally a humorless bunch, to start sniping at Merkley for the ad. State GOP Chairman Vance Day huffed and puffed that it was "tasteless" and should be yanked because, although nobody was hurt, Dickey-Griffith was cited for driving too fast on packed snow and ice.

"What I cannot understand is why you would make a joke about the accident," Day wrote. "Breaking the law is not funny, particularly from a member of the state legislature. ... If nothing else, I ask that you apologize for this tasteless advertisement and discontinue making light of this very serious accident."

The EYE has heard of political parties being desperate for issues, but this sets some kind of record. A Merkley spokesman called Day's letter "ridiculous."

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