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October 25, 2008

Obama endorses Merkley in ad

Barack Obama is lending his support to a Democratic Senate candidate looking to capitalize on his coattails.

The ad is for Democrat Jeff Merkley, who is running in a tight race against Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.)  Smith has been courting Democratic voters in the liberal-minded state, associating himself with Obama, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and the state's senior senator Ron Wyden in his own ads.

But Obama makes it clear who he's supporting.  He speaks to camera in the ad to call Merkley the candidate of change.

"Oregon, you have a choice.  You can stick with the failed Washington policies that put CEOs and special interests first, or do you choose real change.  That change is Jeff Merkley," Obama says in the ad. "With Jeff Merkley in the US Senate, we can get our country back on track."

This is the first ad Obama cut for another Congressional candidate in a general election campaign.  But he helped another candidate earlier this year in a closely-watched special election in his home state.

In February, he taped an advertisement for Democratic candidate Bill Foster, running to succeed former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. 

Foster got a key boost from the high-profile endorsement, and is now serving in Congress.