Kulongoski Challenges Howie Rich to Debate

Here at BlueOregon HQ, we just got an alert from the Kulongoski campaign. Apparently, Governor Kulongoski has invited New York libertarian/millionaire Howie Rich to visit Oregon and debate Measure 48.

From his letter to Howie Rich:

Since you are the chief financial backer of Oregon ballot Measure 48, I invite you to Oregon to publicly debate the merits of the measure. You have already put $1.1 million dollars into this effort, so I am certain that you can afford the price of a plane ticket. ...

For too long out-of-state special interests have used Oregon as a laboratory for their failed ideas. As Governor, I feel it is my obligation to stand up to the special interest groups you fund and protect the most vulnerable in our population - kids and seniors - who depend on services you are proposing to cut.

Your subordinates may try to help you avoid the publicity by offering to debate in your stead. I do not see such an arrangement as acceptable. If you are willing to pour millions into our state as a social experiment, the least you can do is come here and explain in person to Oregon voters why the face of our future is so important to you.

I welcome my Republican opponent join me in this discussion with you, but while he opposes this measure, he refuses to campaign against it. Please contact my campaign as soon as possible so that we can finalize arrangements for the forum.

Governor Ted Kulongoski


  • Levon (unverified)

    Charles Dickens would be envious of the birth name given to our concerned citizen from New York.

    The papers will no doubt view this as a campaign stunt by the Governor; still, the action has merit.

    Let's see if Mr. Rich has courage to go along with his deep pockets.

    Come West Howie! It's a nice state to visit!

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    This highlights one of the problems with our initiative system: no accountability. At least when politicians screw up there's a chance to vote them out; but Rich, Sizemore, and their ilk get to ride off into the sunset.

  • LT (unverified)

    Ted doing something intelligent!

    Let's have that public debate--and invite any candidate (Saxton, legislative candidates, etc.)who wants to debate on the Measure 48 side. After all, we deserve to hear from the people behind it--from the outside financier to any candidate/ legislator who might support it. Let's hear them discuss the details in open forum (or we have the right to say they just want to throw ads at us, not treat us like intelligent voters). Don't tell us what "the people want" without asking us, engage in dialogue!

    Score one for Ted just for sending the letter.

  • Eric (unverified)

    ...and that is why, Zak, we have to vote NO on everything this November.

  • val (unverified)

    This is an excellent idea and kudos to the Governor for calling Rich out. Let's see if Mr. Rich is willing to take on the challenge instead of just paying for someone else to fight his battle. Hmmm, seems to be a theme with Republican's these days.

  • spanky (unverified)

    Uh oh - what if he takes sleepy Ted up on it?

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    Who's looking out for the little guy? Who's looking out for the kids and the seniors? Ted Kulongoski is! He's taking on the snake oil salesmen Howie Rich and the Koch brothers.The more folks learn about the army of deep pockets marching through Oregon using Don McIntire and Bill Sizemore as puppet shields for thier well funded agenda, the better. Even the big "O"s associate editor David Reinard stated in his 8/27/06 column, "Oregon voters should reject Measure 48." and went on to explain why. Ted Kulongoski is a tough campaigner. His decision to 'out" Howie Rich does every citizen of Oregon a favor. Thank you Governor Kulongoski.

  • Val (unverified)

    Uh oh - what if he takes sleepy Ted up on it?

    The voters will be better off because they will see who is really behind this terrible ballot measure, it will bring to light the truth about what will happen to Oregon if it passes and Ted will clearly win the debate, no question, slam dunk.


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    Go Gov!

    What better way to highlight Saxton's equivocation on the issue, than to take a strong public stand.

    So nice when good politics align so well with good policy. It's important for the Governor - broadly responsible for the long-term future of the state - to take a clearly articulated stand on an issue that would have such a huge impact. This is an excellent first step - and the kind of approach I'd like to have seen taken with Measure 37. When Rich declines, I hope Kulongoski will follow with some detailed analysis anyway.

  • LT (unverified)

    Just heard on the radio (OPB) that Rich sent an email saying he helped a local group with the heavy lifting--but he won't debate, that should happen with local sponsors. McIntire volunteered to debate, Ted's people said he wasn't acceptable.

    McIntire should look to his own history. With a live audience at WOU in 2000, his debating opponent did a "perfect squelch" response to one of his remarks. McIntire got angry, and from that point forward the people I know who were there said there was more discussion about what McIntire said under his breath when he got angry than about the substance of the measure.

    Would be interesting to know if that college audience was made up of what McIntire likes to call "union henchmen" or just students who were in public school classrooms as Meas. 5 and 47 took effect, and weren't going to listen to anyone of an older generation telling them not to believe their own experience.

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    To Pete Forsyth,

    Great point you made about Measure 37, since Howie Rich's fingerprints and dollars were all over the measure.

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    As soon as the polls closed in the primary, I became a Ted supporter as a pragmatic necessity.

    This past couple of weeks though, I'm actually seeing moves to cheer about. This ain't the cautious consensus builder Ted that has kept his head down and stayed focused on.......well......his job.

    First, he agrees to multiple debates with Saxton, which of course is almost unheard of for an incumbent.

    Last week at a breakfast for small business supporters, he opened up to unscripted questions from the floor, causing visible consternation on the part of his gunslingers.

    And now this. To the degree that the Campaigning Ted is a scrapper and a risk taker, his personal stock is rising in my mind. Every time our guys call one of these selfish government drowning bastards out, the public gets to take a peek behind the curtain at the Billionaire Boyz Club.

    Way to go Ted. Keep surprising me..........

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    paulie- I take it that's sarcasm, and that Rich had nothing to do with 37 - yes?

    I wasn't trying to draw a connection through Rich, but I do see a connection.

    I think the Governor has a responsibility to take a leading role in the public debate about this kind of initiative. I'm glad to see him taking steps in that direction. I wish he had done more along those lines in '04 for Measure 37. The connection that I see is that both measures drastically limit the ability of the government to...well, govern. By financial means. It has nothing to do with the sponsor.

  • mrfearless47 (unverified)

    This is the first positive thing I've seen from Ted in 4 years. It doesn't turn me from actively disliking him to an ardent supporter, but it does raise the likelihood that I'll vote for him from 0% to about 2%.

  • Brenda (unverified)

    "He's taking on the snake oil salesmen Howie Rich and the Koch brothers"

    "Taking on"?

    Wow! He wrote letter. And probably had someone else write it.

    The guy won't "take on" any conservative radio host, hides from any challenges, represents about 30% of Oregonians and you all think he is now a tough guy?

    What a comedy act this blog is.

    This is a shallow and worthless campaign stunt. Next we'll be hearing how courageous Ted is for going on Tom Hartman.

  • mitch (unverified)

    Sleepy Ted won’t even talk to our own local radio host because he is afraid. Just because the hosts are conservative in there thinking doesn’t mean you don’t go on the radio and Talk. And now he thinks he wants to debate someone from New York??? Be a man and talk to the locals and leave the out of stators alone, not talking to local media just because you are from a different party just shows how weak of a leader you really are. People don’t agree with our president all the time but he does talk to all types of media, something Sleepy Ted will not do. Focus on Oregonians; leave the out of stators alone. Leadership, Ted lacks true leadership!

  • LT (unverified)

    Leadership, Ted lacks true leadership! And Saxton is better because..............?

  • Jay Wells (unverified)

    If this little tustle ends with McIntire's lame counteroffer to stand in for his sugar-daddy then it was a welcome, but ultimately skin-deep challenge by the Gov. McIntire's paid petition gatherers who hang out at redneck watering holes is hardly "heavy lifting!" What does he know about Oregon -- anything? Can't someone offer to pay Mr. Rich's air ticket to Oregon since he seems to be having a cash flow problem? Better yet, why doesn't Kulongoski offer to fly to New York to debate Rich -- along with one or two governors from other states where Americans for Limited Government has bankrolled local hotheads like McIntire: Arizona, California, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Washington. Yes, Howard Rich is also funding I-933 in Washington -- the property rights clone of our Measure 37. That's been a huge boon to Washington homebuilders who can now empty their warchest in order to buy state Supreme Court justices who worship property rights. Heads up Oregon, because our Court is next! So why don't Kulongoski and Gregoire take a little field trip to Manhattan and camp out under the old geezer's penthouse like a couple of college protesters. Everyone else is a henchman to McIntire, but why isn't someone tagging him as a puppet for Mr. Rich? McIntire and Sizemore have always been minions and puppets for "Mr Rich" -- whether that's their puppeteer's real name or not. Dressing up like libertarians and populists is their schtick but hiding the strings has always been their special talent.

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    I completely agree that exposing Rich as the engine, and McIntire as the stooge taking his cut, are very damaging concepts to 48's prospects. Some guy from New York is not going to set our spending policy--that's a rationale for No that can sell statewide, urban and rural, east and west.

    It was always a show move. But both Rich and McIntire admitted their relationship if not the truth about their roles. Don's role just became "puppet to NY money." That's gotta be a hit to his ego.

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