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Down the ballot: Upset at Gordon Smith

How upset is the McCain campaign and the NRSC and NRCC with GOP Sen. Gordon Smith today? His decision to run a TV ad talking up his work with Obama is making it harder for Republicans to make the claim that Obama is bad for Democrats down the ballot. The Washington Post: "The outbreak of enthusiasm is a striking shift from the spring, when Republican advertisements from North Carolina to Mississippi to Illinois ominously painted Obama as an out-of-touch liberal bringing his brand of politics to regions of the country that should shun it."

VIDEO: NBC Political Director Chuck Todd discusses Republican Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon reaching out to Barack Obama and the implications this has for the McCain campaign.

"National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain said the GOP will stick to that script this fall 'on a district-by-district basis.' But a senior Republican strategist involved in House races said that strategy is now largely dead,  'except in rare instances, and I'm not sure it was a good idea in the first place.' The tactic initially caused some Democrats to distance themselves from the senator from Illinois, but now most are eager to be as closely associated with his campaign as possible."

More: "In New Hampshire, Democratic Senate candidate and former governor Jeanne Shaheen will campaign in Manchester today with Michelle Obama, whom Republicans have tried to turn into a political liability. Conservative House Democrat John Barrow has persuaded Obama to cut a radio advertisement for him ahead of his July primary in Georgia. Senate campaign spokesmen for Democrats Tom Allen in Maine, Kay Hagan in North Carolina, Al Franken in Minnesota and Rick Noriega in Texas all said they have reached out to the Obama campaign and are pleading for a visit from either the candidate or his wife."

And here's something you don't often hear. "I'm actually pretty happy about last night's results," U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon told The Associated Press after losing his primary bid for re-election. "I think I'll be able to do many of the things I would ordinarily do in Congress on the outside without having to suffer the sort of difficulties that come with that job."