Congressman Peter DeFazio
4th District, Oregon
PO Box 1316
Springfield, OR 97477

March 12, 2008

Contact: Jen Gilbreath, (541) 485-1622 or

DeFazio urges democratic contenders to campaign against McCain the next few weeks, not each other

(EUGENE, OR) – Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today sent a letter to Senators Clinton and Obama urging the candidates to stop fighting each other and to start fighting John McCain who, if elected, would represent the third Bush term. DeFazio suggested that the campaigns use the next six weeks to show voters how they would conduct a
campaign against McCain in the general election.

The following letter was sent today to both democratic Presidential candidates.

Dear Senator Clinton and Senator Obama:

I write today as a concerned member of the Democratic Party and an uncommitted super delegate.

I appreciated the manner in which you both conducted your campaigns during the early primary process. It was a manner that respected the other and tried to highlight policy differences without resorting to destructive smear campaigns.

In the lead up to the March 4th primaries, the tone of both campaigns shifted and the civility that I had appreciated disappeared. The long term goal of beating the Republican nominee took a back seat to the short term goal of proving one’s viability by tearing down the other Democratic candidate. We lost sight of the general election, we lost sight of the true opponent and if we continue to be shortsighted, I fear we will lose in November.

The heated rhetoric between both campaigns has continued to intensify as we head into the Pennsylvania primary. While you trade barbs, McCain is uniting the Republican Party around his thinly disguised right wing agenda. In the next six weeks, McCain can sit back, amass his war chest, concentrate his base and delight as you deconstruct each other.

Page Two
DeFazio challenges candidates
March 12, 2008

I propose that you not allow him that luxury. You both claim to be better suited than the other to take on the so-called Straight-Talk Express, so prove it. Run the next six weeks of your campaign against McCain, not against the other Democrat. Go after McCain for his policy positions, not the other Democrat for theirs. Allow the Democratic voters to
believe in a campaign that can provide a new direction for this country and stop McCain from continuing the failed policies of the Bush Administration. In the end, it is the candidate who can take the fight to McCain and win that deserves my support and, most importantly, the support of the Democratic Party.

Both of your campaigns have been built on the fundamental idea that if elected, you will bring about change. Let’s change the way we are doing business in this primary election. In the last few months, you have been running for the Democratic nomination. In the next six weeks, I urge you start running for President.

Member of Congress

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Paid for and authorized by DeFazio for Congress


  1. Mmasingira Mtembori

    Lots of people internationally are also disgusted at what Hillary is doing. We know that America will one day have a woman President. Hillary has run like ‘one of the boys’ while Obama has run a more ‘feminine’ campaign. Hillary claims a “sea change” with the election of a woman yet runs her campaign and her politics in a ‘manly’ way. Women don’t belittle men! She could learn a lot by reading about Margaret Thatcher in Britain and how she brought people together.

  2. ObamaSupporter

    This is an email I sent to Mr DeFazio earlier today. Anyone who shares my sentiments might want to consider writing him an email as well.


    “I will start by telling you that I support Barack Obama. I am writing with my concerns about the letter you wrote to Mr Obama and Ms Clinton about the negative campaigning that has gone on in recent weeks.

    It is true that in recent weeks the Clinton team has run an intensely negative campaign intended to tear down Barack Obama in the public media. They have stated that 1) Mr Obama is not ready to be Commander-in-Chief, 2) John McCain is better prepared to be Commander-in-Chief than Mr Obama, 3) Mr Obama can not win the general election in November; and 4) Mr Obama would not be where he is if he was not a black man. They have chosen to ignore the rules of fair play and the best interests of the Democratic Party and instead follow a scorched earth policy aimed at satisfying their own political ambitions.

    The Obama team, on the other hand, has and continues to run a very positive campaign. There has been one significant episode in recent weeks where a member of the Obama team, Samantha Power, made an offhand remark to a reporter suggesting that Hillary Clinton was a “monster”. Realizing that this was a blunder, Ms Power immediately tried to make that comment off-the-record. The reporter did not comply with her request and instead published her remarks. Ms Power, who was an important member of Obama’s foreign policy team, promptly resigned.

    For you to in any way equate the behavior of the Obama and Clinton teams is not only ludicrous on its face but it is also damaging, both to the Obama campaign, the Democratic Party and politics in America. It presents a false image of Mr Obama in the eye of the reader – that he and his team are somehow just like the Clintons and their team. It is an unfounded attack on one of the great assets Mr Obama has consistently shown he brings to politics and government — the ability to bridge the partisan divisiveness that has plagued the political dialogue in America and undermined constructive policy making in our government. It allows members of the Clinton team to use your remarks to further blur the distinction between their negative tactics and the positive campaign run by the Obama team. And by blurring that distinction, it provides cover for members of the Clinton team to step up their negative attacks.

    Many who have posted responses to your letter on the internet have stated that the feigned evenhandedness of your letter suggests that you are a Clinton supporter using the air of evenhandedness as part of a political calculus. At this point only you know if this is true. If it is not true, then at a minimum you are incredibly naive as to the unintended negative consequences of your letter. By failing to acknowledge and point out the conspicuous disparity between the negative campaign run by the Clinton team and the positive campaign run by the Obama team, you haven’t helped solve the problem, you have helped perpetuate it.”

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