If Gov. Ted Kulongoski seems a little out of it this week, he's got the perfect excuse: He couldn't afford to buy coffee.

In fact, the governor couldn't afford much of anything during a trip to a Salem-area Fred Meyer today, to buy exactly 21-dollars worth of groceries to last him for the next week.

The goal is to walk the proverbial mile in the steps of those who rely on food stamps to feed a family, to kindle awareness and empathy.

The challenge comes at a politically delicate juncture for the food stamp program.

The Bush administration has proposed several cuts, among them taking away food stamps from about 185-thousand people because they receive other non-cash government assistance.

Kulongoski, a Democrat, plans to lobby Congress to restore the proposed funding cuts.