On KOPT, Gordon Smith won't take a stand against a pardon for Scooter Libby.

Yesterday, Senator Gordon Smith appeared (surprisingly) on KOPT 1600 AM - the progressive talk radio station in Eugene. He was on "The Vocal Majority", hosted by Brian Shaw.

ScooterlibbyDan Carol, candidate for DPO Chair, gave Oregonians a preview of his combative approach when he called in and asked the Senator to take a strong stand against a presidential pardon for Scooter Libby -- and Gordon Smith refused to do so. Instead, he danced and spun and talked about President Clinton.

Here's how it went down... Play the one-minute MP3 here (544k).

Dan Carol: "Hi, this is Dan Carol. I'm running for state Democratic chair, Senator, so we may be spending lots of time together in the months ahead."

Gordon Smith: "Hi, Dan."

Dan Carol: "Hey, how are you?"

Gordon Smith: "Fine."

Dan Carol: "Hey listen, the Dick Cheney topic. Scooter Libby was convicted yesterday for lying and obstructing justice, and already there's talk of a presidential pardon. Will you say right now that pardoning someone who exposed a CIA agent to play politics with our national security and cover up the whole WMD issue is 100% wrong?"

Gordon Smith: "Well, I don't know what the President is going to do. That's the province of the executive branch. I'm not going to be urging a pardon. I mean, I think you learn, with whether it's President Clinton or whether it's Scooter Libby, when you're under oath, you tell the truth. And if you don't remember, you simply have to say 'I don't remember.' So I'm offering no excuse for what Scooter did, and I certainly offered none for President Clinton. It is a very serious matter when you're in federal court to tell the truth. Because if you don't, the ability to provide equal justice in society is thwarted."

Later, Dan Carol issued this statement to the press - and promised more of the same:

"Soon we will have great candidates offering positive alternatives to Gordon Smith’s ineffectual two-term record of waffling on the issues. Until then, my goal is to help keep Gordon Smith a bit more honest than Scooter Libby."
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    I knew it. I just knew the Republicans spin on this would be to link Libby with Clinton.

    I'm sorry, but there is a huge difference between lying about committing treason and lying about having oral sex in your office with someone other than your wife.

    But of course they're going to tie the two together to make it appear that Libby did something as minor as Clinton did.

  • Chris (unverified)

    What Bill Clinton did ten years ago is simply irrelevant.

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    That's the province of the executive branch.

    He's right, and I wouldn't expect any Senator to offer a different comment. Smith should be taken to task for areas over which he has purview.

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    I disagree Jeff. In general, Congress has oversight responsibility over the executive branch. Of course, Gordon Smith has a purview here.

    Remember, Bill Clinton was impeached over the lying. I don't think we're headed that way this time, but that makes it crystal clear that it DOES have congressional purview.

  • Grateful D (unverified)

    Ah, alas, thank you Dan for restoring my faith that at least one candidate for Democratic Party chair actually "gets it."

    I have to say watching all this unfold on here has been pretty distressing (thanks Kari for covering though).

    All this inside baseball talk about committee bureaucracy, hierarchy petty maneuvering...process, process, process and then culminated by that long insane rambling rant about some imaginerary bizarro world that has something to do with the size of one's dog.

    Are these folks representative of the people actually voting this weekend? Sheesh...I hope not 'cause I sure don't identify with'em and doubt anyone in the real world would either.

    I was leaning Dan based on resume and postings, but you sealed the deal by taking Smith head on. Talk is cheap. It'd be fun watching you take on creative ways to hold Smith's feet to the fire. Thanks for showing us in real time what the true potential of a strategic chair can be. Kudos!

  • scott (unverified)

    Well, actually I don't find anything Smith said out of the ordinary for a politician.

    The concern I have is with Smith's record on issues that affect Oregon and our country. He was part of a do-next-to-nothing Republican-controlled Senate prior to Democrats winning control of the Senate.

    They basically just said the president could have any amount of money (our tax dollars) to waste on the war in Iraq that he wanted. Anyone who went along with that sort of nonsense should be replaced in the Senate.

    And then the environment, which is among my top issues, is threatened by politicians like Smith who don't seem to care about protecting it for future generations.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Re Smith's comments: What else do can you expect from an empty suit with a Republican label?

  • roxanne bruns (unverified)

    I'm not going to be urging a pardon.

    That's not strong enough? Listen, there are plenty of reasons to attack Gordon Smith, but this one is weak.

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    I disagree Jeff. In general, Congress has oversight responsibility over the executive branch.

    Hey, we disagree!--that's rare enough to make note of. Congress does have some oversight authority, but not over the Constitutionally-guaranteed presidential right to pardon:

    The President ... shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.
    <h2>It's enumerated right there in the 'Presidential powers' section. Of course, legislators may try to influence these decisions (that's politics), but I hardly see where a Senator should be dictating powers to a President of his own party. Dems wouldn't touch that with a 10-foot pole (at least not publicly) and I wouldn't condemn them for it.</h2>
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