Washington (CNN) - The woman who wants to defeat the most powerful Democrat in the Senate has taken part in a rare interview as critics claim she's avoided reporters by hiding in an "underground bunker."
Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle spoke with well known Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston on Tuesday on the program, "Face to Face." The interview was seen by KVBC Las Vegas and KRNV Reno viewers.
"She's been accused of hiding from all but friendly media, portrayed as a right wing kook by the Democrats and ridiculed on her positions from prisoner massages to prohibition," Ralston said in his introduction. The show host then said Angle would "clear the air" on what some consider her controversial positions.
Angle, who faces Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for the general election, laughed off the notion that she's been hiding from reporters. She even issued a challenge to her opponent: "What I would like to see is Harry Reid come in to this studio – with you and I - and have a true debate…and on the issues," Angle said.
During the interview the Republican spent the better part of over 20-minutes beating back any notion that her views are out of the mainstream.
On the issues of Social Security and Medicare, Ralston reminded Angle of previous comments where she talked about "the idea of privatizing and [the government] getting out of Medicare and Social Security" before her June 8 GOP primary win. Ralston asked the candidate to reconcile those words with comments made after the election where Angle talked about locking "the lockbox" to protect Social Security.
Angle was emphatic that her statements were not contradictory.
"No I don't think so," Angle said. "You know, we have seniors that are counting on Social Security. They have paid in good faith into a Social Security lockbox, figuring that there would be money there to pay for their retirement as they go forward. And yet we know that that lockbox has actually been raided and pillaged by Harry Reid and his cronies there in Washington, D.C. so that all that is left is IOUs."
Angle went on to explain that the government must keep its "contract" with seniors, but that a threatened Social Security system might not work best for younger workers.
"We need to allow them to personalize and that's just kind of an expanded way of saying that sometimes you can do it through a privatized manner or sometimes you can do it like they did through the federal government," Angle said.
On the issue of jobs, Angle was reminded of her remarks at a recent campaign event where she said: "People ask me, 'What are you going to do to develop jobs in your state?' Well, that's not my job as a U.S. Senator, to bring industry to the state. That's the Lieutenant Governor's job. That's your State Senator's and Assemblyman's job. That's your Secretary of State's job to make a climate here in this state, y'all come."
Ralston asked Angle why, then, she often slams Reid for Nevada's high unemployment rate.
"Certainly the job of a U.S. Senator is to create a climate that will be conducive to creating jobs, which means lower taxes and less government regulation," Angle told Ralston. "But what Harry Reid has been doing is putting forward those policies that actually put more regulation on business. [The new health care legislation] 'Obamacare,' for one, has put in so many regulations now that they're having to choose and they're choosing that they cannot provide jobs."
Angle was also asked to explain her recent comments that unemployment benefits "have spoiled our citizenry."
"The system of entitlement has caused us to have a spoilage with our ability to go out and get a job," the Republican said. Angle proposes a system where unemployment benefits are cut so that they do not pay more than many low-paying jobs. Angle said that workers are being forced to choose between a low-paying job - and jobless benefits that pay more. She advocated an idea to supplement jobs that have small incomes with dramatically reduced unemployment benefits.
The Reid campaign, which has closely watched Angle's public words, saw the interview as another opportunity to cast Angle as far outside the mainstream.
In a statement, Reid's campaign said, "Last night, Sharron Angle emerged briefly from her underground bunker to appear on Face to Face with Jon Ralston." It went on to call Angle "generally incoherent" on issues like Social Security and unemployment benefits.
But it was especially critical of Angle's view on the separation of church and state, which Angle believes is an unconstitutional doctrine. She explained by mentioning the famous letter from 1802 that a founding father wrote on the matter.
"Thomas Jefferson was actually addressing a church and telling them, through his address, that there had been a wall of separation put up between the church and the state precisely to protect the church...from being taken over by a state religion," Angle said. "And that's what they meant by that."
She continued: "They [the nation's Founders] didn't mean that we couldn't bring our values to the political forum. And it didn't mean that people with religious beliefs shouldn't have that freedom."
On those words, the Reid campaign pounced.
"For someone who so often invokes the Constitution to rationalize her extreme and dangerous agenda, you would think Sharron Angle would have some familiarity with its contents," its statement said.
"It's shocking to hear Sharron Angle say that separation of church and state is not part of the Constitution, given that it's spelled out so explicitly in the First Amendment," the statement added.