Eye On Olympia

Going man-to-man with a cardboard cutout of Elvis...

"I personally think he's a gutless weasel."

--- Initiative promoter Tim Eyman, trying to goad Mark Ufkes into a debate. Ufkes, who works for Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, had reportedly offered an anytime-anywhere "smackdown" debate over Eyman's Initiative 892. The measure would allow businesses throughout Washington -- not just tribal casinos -- to have slot-style gambling machines.

Ufkes didn't show up for Wednesday's "debate." But Eyman, always looking for free publicity, did. He brought along a lifesize cardboard cutout of Elvis Presley, who stood in for Ufkes.

We were curious about what happened. Was the offer just a joke? Or a hoax? Was Ufkes talked out of any debate by the anti-I-892 campaign, of which he's not a member? Did tribal leaders not want him publicly taking on Eyman, who revels in any attention?

No way to know. Ufkes didn't return our repeated messages on his voice mail, nor messages left with staffers.

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