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Originally published Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 4:31 PM

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Republicans take aim at Ore. congressman over SUV

Republican campaign officials took aim on Thursday at an Oregon congressman who has pushed for tougher vehicle emission standards, touting a YouTube video of the environmentally friendly Democrat driving what they called a gas-guzzling SUV in Washington, D.C.

Associated Press Writer

SALEM, Ore. —

Republican campaign officials took aim on Thursday at an Oregon congressman who has pushed for tougher vehicle emission standards, touting a YouTube video of the environmentally friendly Democrat driving what they called a gas-guzzling SUV in Washington, D.C.

The video, recorded by a GOP staffer assigned to track Rep. David Wu and distributed by the National Republican Congressional Committee, was an early political fusillade against a six-term Democrat the Republicans believe will finally be vulnerable in next year's midterm elections.

NRCC spokeswoman Joanna Burgos acknowledged that Republicans and Democrats alike drive SUVs. But Wu has boasted of his advocacy of green legislation and has urged stricter emission standards, she said.

"What it shows is that David Wu tries to be one person when he's back in Oregon, and a different one when he's in Washington, D.C.," Burgos said.

Wu has been a durable political figure since first getting elected from his Portland-based district in 1998 - Republicans didn't even put a challenger on last year's ballot.

But Wu won't get a free ride in 2010, Burgos said. Rob Cornilles, a sports business consultant and community leader from suburban Tualatin, recently announced his candidacy and will focus on congressional overspending supported by Wu and other Democrats, she said.

Wu, who is married and has two children, bought the black GMC Yukon eight years ago so that it could carry his dog, a couple of strollers and his family, spokeswoman Julia Louise Krahe said. The congressman and his family regularly practice recycling in their household, she added.

"He demonstrates his commitment to the environment in a number of ways, both personal and professional," Krahe said.

Republicans will have their work cut out for them in trying to knock off Wu, who is very popular with constituents, political analyst Jim Moore said. Criticism over his SUV driving habits might be fun way to hit at Wu, but it won't make a difference in the 2010 election, he said.

"He's only had one tough election campaign, and that was his first one," said Moore, who teaches political science at Pacific University in Forest Grove. "Since then he's built good name familiarity in the district."

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On the Net:

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v-ZtdknzpcZM

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