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Corvallis Gazette-Times - Smith Stops in Town, Touts his Moderation

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Corvallis Gazette-Times - Smith Stops in Town, Touts his Moderation

By KYLE ODEGARD

Sen. Gordon Smith spoke to about 30 supporters on Wednesday in Corvallis, stressing that he should be re-elected because of his moderate votes, his understanding of the entire state of Oregon and his seniority and presence on powerful committees in Washington, D.C.

"We can win this race," Smith told a group gathered upstairs in the McMenamins on Monroe Avenue near the Oregon State University campus. About half of those who

attended the event, which wasn't publicized, were OSU students.

Smith told the audience he had been there for OSU, supporting research grants and increased student aid. He specifically mentioned wave energy as a technology being generated at OSU that could answer the energy independence concerns of the United States.

Smith, who is from Pendleton, said that his Democratic opponent, Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley, was a "serial tax and spender," and a hyper-partisan member of the far left.

"We don't need that. We need balance," Smith said.

It is because Republican leaders are worried that the neck-and-neck race could further shift the balance of power in the Senate in Washington, D.C., that this race has become a matter of national interest. (See page B5).

Bud Torcom of Chicago, a sophomore majoring in business at OSU, said Smith hit the mark with comments about bigger government not being a better government. He added that Smith was being mislabeled by political advertisements that make him seem like President Bush's right-hand man. "He's not far right at all," Torcom said. "He works for Oregon."

Many Republicans thought the race was extremely tight.

"I'm scared," said Jenni Hastings, a freshman in forest management. "This election year, ‘change' seems to be the thing."

R.J. Friedman, president of the OSU College Republicans, and a junior in political science, said change wasn't advisable in this campaign because Smith already has proven himself to Oregonians and carries plenty of clout back in D.C. "He's doing a great job," Friedman said.

"I respect his values and some of the things he stands for," said Brian Anderson of Mitchell, a junior studying business and marketing.

Smith was scheduled to make seven campaign stops on Wednesday and to visit 22 cities in 18 counties this week as the race nears its end. All the traveling on the whirlwind tour is par for the course, Smith said.

"I enjoy it because it's old-fashioned retail politics, one voter at a time and shaking hands and hearing stories and finding new ways to help government work better," he said after the event.

And regardless of which candidate is elected president on Tuesday, Smith pledged to work with him.


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