Ex-president plans two Portland-area stops before primary

Former President Clinton has scheduled two Portland-area appearances Saturday as the race for the White House heats up in Oregon in advance of the May 20 primary election.

Candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama also are expected to make repeated appearance in Oregon over the next few weeks, highlighting the growing importance of the state's primary in the hotly contested Democratic presidential election.

Sixty-five delegates are at stake in the race, including 52 delegates who will be assigned by the vote and 13 superdelegates who are free to make up their own minds.

Four Oregon superdelegates have announced where they stand, splitting evenly for Clinton and Obama. Two days after Clinton kept her presidential bid alive with a 10-point win in the Pennsylvania primary, Rep. David Wu endorsed her opponent.

'We need new policies both at home and abroad,' Wu said. 'Like Americans, the international community wants to see real change in America, and I believe that Sen. Obama embodies that change.'

Rep. Earl Blumenauer also has announced for Obama, while Rep. Darlene Hooley and Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski came out for Clinton.

Sparring is also occurring over whether Clinton and Obama will debate in Oregon before the primary. The Clinton campaign has challenged Obama to an Oregon debate, a move backed by Kulongoski and other Clinton supporters.

The Obama campaign so far has rejected the challenge, saying that numerous nationally televised debates already have been held.

The Oregon campaign for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has not announced any appearances here.

Bill Clinton

When: 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Oregon City High School, 19761 S. Beavercreek Road,

Oregon City

Cost: free, but first visit

When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Lincoln High School, 1600 S.W. Salmon St.

Cost: free, but first visit

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