City Club Debate Friday: Macpherson v. Kroger

On Friday, the Portland City Club will host its first 2008 campaign debate - between Attorney General candidates Greg Macpherson and John Kroger.

Here's how the City Club previews the showdown:

As chief lawyer for the state of Oregon, the attorney general is responsible for providing administrative oversight and support for the effective and efficient operation of the Department of Justice. This work includes issuing legal opinions on controversial issues such as land-use and same-sex marriage and representing the state in significant, high-profile matters, such as tribal gaming, tobacco litigation and consumer protection.

John Kroger is a law professor at Lewis & Clark College, a former federal prosecutor and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. Greg Macpherson is a three-term state representative and current chair of the House Judiciary Committee, with over 30 years experience as an employee benefits attorney. The debate will be moderated by Lee Pelton, president of Willamette University.

The debate is at noon, at the Governor Hotel, 614 SW 11th Ave. It will also be broadcast on OPB Radio at 7 p.m. Friday evening. More information here.

What do you hope the candidates discuss?

  • LT (unverified)

    I hope someone asks a question of each candidates which knocks them off their talking points.

    Bring up an Oregon Law Commission report. Ask about mediation, arbitration versus court action. Ask about issuing AG opinions in a variety of circumstances.

    Ask Kroger how he would get a budget or any other proposal through the legislature. Ask Macpherson if there is an circumstance where he can see personally going into court to argue a case himself. Ask either how they would rate current consumer protection at DOJ and what if anything they would change. That sort of thing.

  • Jason Skelton (unverified)

    Is anyone even paying attention to this race...

  • anonymous (unverified)

    Is Kroger a Lieberman-like DLC New Democrat at heart who figures that wouldn't fly in Oregon? See this:

    "John Kroger spent a year as the campaign's deputy policy director and most persistent New Democrat, in charge of saying no whenever interest groups demanded promises Clinton couldn't keep. After Clinton won, the people Kroger had said no to managed to blackball him from the White House. He ended up in a remote corner of Treasury, lost interest, and left for law school."

  • (Show?)

    ok Anonymous, I'll bite. How does your quote that Kroger saying that he said no to people who demanded promises that Clinton couldn't keep imply that he was a DLC Democrat. Somehow saying you won't make promises you can't keep seems to my naive eyes like a good thing.

    Did you mean because he was labeled a "New" Democrat in one article that means he sides with Lieberman, who is no longer a Democrat? Give me a break. My memory is that most Democrats voted for Clinton not once but twice and thought he did a good job vs. the prior and post Bush.

  • (Show?)

    So how did it go? Did anyone reading this comment attend the debate?

  • LT (unverified)

    is the link for those who didn't hear it (I heard it on the radio tonight).

    Kroger's campaign people deserve a lot of praise for their debate prep, and Kroger for the unexpected graciousness. It was a pleasure listening to the serious debate on issues. And it was highly structured---even had a panel on the stage so that if the panel thought the answers were not responsive, they could signal and the question could be read again.

  • Hawthorne (unverified)


    Thanks for the link.

    I wish that more of your posts were of this nature.

  • LT (unverified)

    I call them as I see them. I just sent an email to someone I know about the Chuck Hagel interview on Charlie Rose. The guy is the genuine article--someone my age I relate to, someone who says strong things in a soft voice (endorsed McCain for President in 2000, thinks in some ways he has gone over the line in his remarks on Iraq) and may well not endorse for president this year or endorse a Democrat. Truly an independent thinker.

    I value quality. Not "the best available", but the best according to a quality standard.

    For example, for all his brash reputation, Kroger did a great "save" in the debate with "Did I say utilities? I meant consumers!" and had several grace notes where he could have been harsh but was witty or actually gracious---like thanking Greg Macpherson for his public service.

    The choice of admirable public figures was interesting for both. Glad to finally see someone praise Hardy Myers after all the years of "hardly matters" jokes. Someone once said the only flaw anyone could see in Speaker Hardy Myers (yes, that was a long time ago) " was that he was too good, too fair". Gee! What a concept!

    I would be thrilled if the April 4 US Senate debate was as gracious, respectful (of the audience as much as of the other candidate) and intelligent.

    It would be really sad to have the 40th anniversary of the killing of Martin Luther King marred by anything trivial. Respecting the honor of such a great man is very important. Some of us have had strong feelings about politics for our entire adult lives because we can still remember where we were on April 4 and on that night in June when MLK and then Bobby Kennedy were suddenly killed and taken from us. That's why the song Abraham, Martin, and John had so much power for so many of us.

  • Dylan (unverified)

    Is there an article anywhere that discusses the AG debate yesterday?

    I left the debate quite angry at MacPherson for how uncivil and rude he was towards Kroger. Despite Kroger making it quite clear early on in the debate that he would not sink to cheap attacks and would instead focus on his own vision for the state, MacPherson spent most of his time telling us why John sucks. I am a die-hard Kroger fan and an ardent MacPherson disliker so I don't trust that everyone left feeling the same way. I heard one person say that MacPherson kicked John's ass because John wouldn't stand up for himself and apparently had no response to the attacks. I'm just curious if there was a general consensus.

  • LT (unverified)

    My impression (as someone truly undecided---more so than before I heard the radio broadcast of the debate) is that Kroger was surprisingly gracious and witty (against character type for the usually abrasive prosecutor) and that Greg was OK, but got in some digs which might not have been appropriate given the debate tone.

    If Kroger wins, it could well be dated to yesterday.

    There are also some people who should also be mentioned when it comes to inspiring people (or however the question was worded). These include Paul Hanneman and Greg's Dad Hector Macpherson. They were legislators who helped implement what would later be called the accomplishments of the McCall years. Yesterday at the Portland City Club we saw the kind of intelligent debate which went on in those days---not what is sometimes sarcastically called "kumbaya togetherness" (not at all what the song by that name means) but by advancing issues by serious public debate. How is a Republican legislator (or other politician) going to say tax cuts are more important than drug treatment, or that all good people support the Mannix measure over the legislative alternative, or a whole host of other issues.

    I thought both men were a credit to Oregon politics in that debate, as were all the other participants.

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