October 14th, 2008 5:33 pm | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics

Gordon Smith and Jeff Merkley Go Head-to-Head in Medford

Gordon Smith in Merkley ad

The second and last U.S Senate debate between Republican Sen. Gordon Smith and Democratic challenger Jeff Merkley in Medford is online here now.

If the last debate in Portland Thursday was a toss-up (or a close win for Merkley on his home turf), Monday night's debate may have gone the other way.

Point 1: Smith, flush with cash to spend on his own ads, said he would work with Merkley to ensure outside groups stopped theirs. Merkley, who needs those outside groups to prop his televised campaign, said he'd work with Smith to have outside groups stop their negative ads. First word: Parse. Second word: Arrrgh.

Point 2: A tongue-tied Merkley topped Smith's gaffe from the last debate (when Smith called Sarah Palin the governor of California) saying he'd fight to stop Medicare Part D. (I think he meant to say he'd to fight to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare Part D, which the current program does not allow.)

Point 3: Smith, having earned negative points in the last round in the "graciousness category," may have gotten some points back when he corrected Merkley's Medicare gaffe for him.

Point 4: Smith pulled a Hillary Clinton, getting verklempt at one point as his face contorted in what appeared to be emotion of either the real or faked variety. (In this case, he was talking about his son's death by suicide, not the rigors of campaigning.) Will he get Hillary's bounce?

Point 5: Smith apologized for the NRSC's hot dog ad.

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