The Campaign Spot

Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber Tries the Bill Clinton Maneuver

Monday’s Morning Jolt started the week by declaring Oregonians had a chance to “un-do one of 2014’s worst incumbent victories”, as Gov. John Kitzhaber now faces a recall effort and a state investigation over his fiance’s consulting work for groups seeking to influence state policy.

The news this morning reveals how close the state is to a new governor: “Gov. John Kitzhaber decided to resign Tuesday but then changed his mind, insisting Wednesday afternoon that he’s staying, The Oregonian has learned.”

A lot of politicians think they can follow Bill Clinton’s 1998 maneuver, hide in the bunker, proclaim innocence, (“The governor has a squeaky clean ethical record,” his lawyer insisted), claim that the criticism is merely partisan nastiness, insist he’s focusing on the people’s business…

… but President Bill Clinton was a lot more important to Democrats nationally in 1998 than Kitzhaber — or other lawmakers — are to their parties today.

UPDATE: You don’t want to say Kitzhaber is toast, but the bread is getting warm

Ron Bersin, the commission’s executive director, said he was contacted Wednesday morning by a representative with the Oregon Attorney General’s Office who confirmed a criminal investigation into both Kitzhaber and Hayes.

State laws require the Salem-based commission to shelve reviews when a criminal investigation is launched on the same matter.

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