"Just as Sen. Smith has supported the Republican nominee in both of his last two races, Sen. Wyden will support the Democratic nominee for 2008, but he won't campaign against Gordon, and he will continue to work with Sen. Smith on the state's behalf for the next two years," Kardon said.
MyDD's Matt Stoller criticized Senator Wyden for seeming to distance himself from campaigning in 2008. Our own Kari Chisholm tried to clarify things with his own MyDD diary. Stoller proferred a retort, etc.
Now, Josh Kardon himself has clarified his comments - in a post over at MyDD. (The bold is our emphasis.)
Forty-nine words out of an interview that ran for many thousands of words has led to some spirited questions and debate, as well as some off-the-mark speculation and assumptions. I'm not without fault in this blog kerfuffle, particularly because I'm generally pretty reluctant to join in on the blogging fun. So please allow me to set the record straight and say exactly what I mean regarding the Oregon '08 Senate race.
I want there to be no ambiguity about this - if Peter DeFazio enters the race, Ron Wyden will campaign hard for him. Peter would be a great candidate, but so would Earl Blumenauer, Steve Novick, and many others. Come election time, you will see strong support from Ron regardless of the Democratic nominee.
Yes, Ron and Senator Smith have a good working relationship, and they appear at joint town meetings every two years and produce a bipartisan Oregon agenda every two years. This has been the case for over a decade, despite the fact that they know that at election time, they're on very different teams. For instance, Senator Smith was the only politician who maxed out in his federal contribution to Senator Wyden's 2004 opponent.
The only point I was attempting to make with the Bend Bulletin reporter was that Ron won't go negative on Senator Smith, but that's hardly news or indicative of his commitment as a Democrat. Senator Wyden won't go negative on anyone.
In the middle of his race against Senator Smith in 1996, Ron decided to pull all negative ads and negative materials out of circulation, and he ran a 100% positive campaign for the duration of the campaign. He has continued this practice in every race since, even when his opponents were being quite negative.
As Ron won't go negative against his own opponents, he's certainly not going to do it on someone else's behalf. That is the job of the nominee and his or her surrogates. Once it is campaign time, however, it will be Ron's job - in a positive fashion and as a proud Democrat -- to help ensure that Sen. Harry Reid remains Majority Leader for many years to come.