The Difference Between Talking and Doing: Kulongoski Debates Primary Opponents

Ted Kulongoski met the challenge by Jim Hill and Pete Sorenson at the first Democratic Primary debate April 6, making a strong case for his re-election by outlining his leadership through some of the state’s toughest years, reminding the audience what it means to be a good Democrat and laying out a roadmap for the future.

Staying above the fray, Governor Kulongoski refused to join in his primary opponents’ grandstanding and misleading attacks. Instead, he explained the roots of his Democratic values, offered a clear vision of what he will achieve next term, and why creating opportunity is so important to him.

Here are some highlights of Oregon media coverage of the event:


Gov. Ted Kulongoski fended off hard blows Thursday night from his two Democratic primary opponents, and got off a few jabs of his own.

In his first multiple-candidate appearance of the primary campaign, Kulongoski accused challengers Jim Hill and Peter Sorenson of a lot of "finger-pointing" but not many specifics about what they would have done differently during a period of state fiscal crisis and economic hardship.

Kulongoski said he spent the past three years "trying to take our state through very difficult waters. And what you're hearing is complaining because they got seasick." (Read more here

The Oregonian

[The debate] also provided a rare public glimpse of Kulongoski's re-election campaign style. He was combative, often loud and not afraid to get personal.

He tangled frequently with Hill, whom he beat during the 2002 Democratic primary. After Hill accused Kulongoski of falling short on providing health care for low-income Oregonians, Kulongoski pointedly reminded the crowd that Hill voted against the Oregon Health Plan when he was a state senator.

Hill shot back that he voted against the insurance program because he didn't think the Legislature would give it enough money to succeed. Kulongoski interrupted, saying sarcastically, "Oh, you voted for it before you voted against it?" -- mimicking a line that got U.S. Sen. John Kerry in trouble when he ran for president.Read more here

Audio of the full debate is available on the Democratic Party of Oregon's website.

Posted on April 8, 2006
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