Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) – Both sides landed some punches, but there didn't seem to be a knockout in the high stakes debate between Sen. Harry Reid and Sharron Angle Thursday night.
Still, Reid said at one point Angle had gone too far in attacking his wealth, calling it a "low blow."
In one of most intense Senate contests nationwide, the two candidates sparred over everything from whose job it is to create jobs to illegal immigration to possible privatization of the Veterans Administration to past voting records during their intense 60-minute debate.
Reid, the four-term veteran, is locked in a a bitter fight with Angle trying to hang onto his seat. Polls show the race as neck-and-neck with the election less than three weeks away.
The sharpest exchange between the two came during a question about whether the Bush tax cuts should be extended for everyone which Angle supports but which Reid does not.
"The tax cuts need to be made permanent," Angle told Reid. And with voting for over 300 tax increases, senator, we can't trust you with taxes. Not only that, you came from Searchlight [Reid's hometown] to the Senate with very little. Now you're one of the richest men in the U.S. Senate. Now on behalf of Nevada taxpayers, I would like to know, we would like to know, how did you become so wealthy on a government payroll?" she asked.
Reid shot back, "That's really kind of a low blow. I think most everyone knows, I was a very successful lawyer. I did a very good job of investing. I have been on a very fixed income since I came to Washington. I've lived off of what I made in the private sector.
"I put my five kids through 100 semesters of school, and I paid for every penny of it. So her suggestion that I made money being a senator is simply false, and I'm really disappointed that she would suggest that. I will further say, if she wants tax cuts made permanent for everybody, we have a deficit problem to worry about, also - $4 trillion it would cost to have these tax cuts extended in the future. That's quite a load, $4 trillion," he said.
The two went back and forth several times over Social Security and some of Angle's past statements supporting privatization, which Reid called "extreme." That has been a consistent theme of attack by Reid and his campaign.
"Social Security is a promise we have to keep. It takes care of seniors in their golden years. That's why I worked so hard to protect Social Security," Reid said.
"Man up, Harry Reid. You need to understand we have a problem with Social Security," Angle told him, saying now that she has more information she has changed her mind on privatization. She said the government should offer private retirement accounts as are offered to federal employees.
Angle argued that because the program is running out of money, quicker than earlier anticipated changes need to be made, and accused Reid of earlier supporting taking money out of it to help deal with the deficit.
"These ideas of my opponent are really extreme. I said CBO (Congessional Budget Office) and acturials said there is plenty of money in that trust fund account. During the Clinton years we didn't use that money to offset the deficit. We were strengthening Social Security by not using it to offset the deficit. Her facts are absolutely wrong," Reid said.
"We are in the red now," Angle said. "If we don't do something to fix this, by 2037 anyone by 40 years of age will not be receiving benefits from the money they paid from paycheck after paycheck."
Displaying their divergent views over regulation, the two candidates disagreed over whether insurance companies should be mandated to offer such items as mammograms. As a state assemblywoman, Angle did not support a bill requiring companies to offer such coverage.
"What we have is a choice between free market and Americanism... America is about choices," she said, arguing it should be an issue left up to the private sector.
"Let the people decide where they want to buy their insurance," Angle said.
Reid countered, "Insurance companies don't do it out of the goodness of their hearts. We need them to be forced to do mammograms."
Just hours after the debate the Reid campaign was up with an ad attacking Angle over her position on this as the two camps battle over independent voters.
Reid was put on the defensive about the state's dire economy and why didn't the Obama Administration and Congress first tackle unemployment and mortgage problems before tacking health care. Nevada leads the nation in unemployment at 14.4% as well as in foreclosures. He pointed to a mortgage fraud bill passed last year and said the health care reform not only improved lives but created jobs. Angle was pushed on her prior statement that it was not a Senator's job to create jobs which Reid has attacked. She said it was a senator's job to help create an atmosphere where the private sector has what it needs to hire.
During the debate – broadcast statewide – neither candidate seemed to commit any major gaffe, which they have been known to do in the past. At times both seemed to struggle to clearly answer various questions. It comes at a key time in the campaign with early voting set to start on Saturday. In 2008 58 percent of those who voted did so early. Both campaigns don't expect the number to be that high, but it could be 40 percent or so.
Angle cleaned the floor with Dirty Harry. He looked like an old senile fool that is so out of touch. She was spot on. The dems are in HUGE trouble. Their Fear and Smear is not working. Oh and don't you just love the new deficit numbers for the upcoming year. 1.2 trillion again?!? Seriously? Conservatives better get in there and clean house.
Apparently Angle has a problem with Harry's wealth ... or lack thereof. Perhaps her intense need to be Senator somehow equates to monetary gain. Hard to understand this woman. Might the her rambling. Might be her inconsistencies. Or it might be her extreme lack of intelligence. One thing is for certain, she will be open to bribery, especially so if she thinks bribery lines pocketbooks. Wealth seems to be all she understands. This woman will come back and bite the hand that votes for her. Sharron Angle only concerns herself with Sharron Angle. Of that there is no doubt.
This women is such an embarssment to the millions of intelligent women in this country,like my wife!!!! This women is just going to bring those casinos and tourist back into Vegas overnight!!!! She is every bit a of a joke as her scorned buddy,Palin!! Palins speech in N.Y. yesterday,was like being forced to Hearing fingernails scratching a Chaulk Board!!!! If your a working person,or unemployed right now, you better be real scared if these people get the helm!!!!!!!
When was he a "very successful lawyer"? Henderson NV City Attorney after completing law school (city salary) 64 -66: (3 years lawyer?) Nevada Assembly 69 – 70 (government salary): lieutenant governor 70 – 74 (government salary): (3 years lawyer?) Nevada Gaming Commission 77 – 81 (government salary): Nevada U.S. Representative 83 -87 (government salary): Senator 87 – Present (government salary): It appears his six years as a private lawyer were very fruitful if he is a multi-millionaire now. He must have gone to the same investment school Hillary did when she took a few thousand dollars and turned it into a few hundreds of thousands of dollars in six months. His resume doesn't even tell what he specialized in as a lawyer.
Chicken Little say's "The sky is falling, the sky is falling." Something that is never mentioned when candidates talk about federal retirement accounts is that the federal employees contribute heavily to these accounts, they are given options to invest in either secure or higher risk accounts. Similar to 401K accounts. These are not government handouts nor are they like the old CSRS system that was abolished several years ago. Federal employees also pay social security and medicare. It is very easy for unknowing candidates to attack something very few know anything about because very few challenge the information being expressed. We alredy learned as well the ideas of putting social security into private accounts tied to the stock market is just pain stupid. Markets rise and fall and are very risky, Social Security needs to be secure although the interest gained is slower it is reliable. Our medical science has given us the means to live longer but our social atitudes tend to restrict those seniors from living better. We need to resolve the problems and criminal activity attacking the system rather than trying to destroy it.
The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Hopefully Harry will be spending all of his time in the private sector again, where he can help pay off the deficit he helped create
Angle is simply not qualified for office. ANyone not seeing it is just lieing to themselves.
The two also went back and forth over the issue of whether insurance companies should be mandated to offer such items as mammograms. As a state assemblywoman, Angle did not support a bill requiring companies to offer such coverage.
Every woman in this country should be very upset that Sharon Angle is against prevention care. I am a three year breast cancer survivor and if it wasn't for my early screen I would be dead by now. Sharon Angle, Sara Palin, and O’Donnell are big threats to women of this country. They are anti-women and would send us women back to cave women. It was though my early screen of my first mammogram is when the doctors notice a spot on my breast which turned out to be breast cancer. I am really sick of these three hateful women and I can not stand the site of them.
It proves to the PEOPLE from time to time that private companies only response to their shareholders and increase their annual profit margins. They are here to MAKE MONEY $$ out of working people. Many women cannot afford to have regular mammograms to detect possible cancer if the insurance companies do not cover that procedure. How could Angle as a woman herself, does not support the women rights for better health care? She is so out-of-touch with the women healthcare needs in this country.
Reid deserve another term , they are fixing the problems, hope every one remember where we were 8 years ago
I was shocked at how well put together Angle came across, Reid seemed confused and struggled to stay on point!
What we have is a choice between free market and Americanism... America is about choices," she said, arguing it should be an issue left up to the private sector.
YEA, and it was FREE MARKET and the PRIVATE SECTOR that got us in this mess we are in and you nutty lady want us to once again put our trust in the FREE MARKET! Hey, lady you are NUTS!
I watched the Nevada debate last night even though I am not from Nevada. I was interested in listening to this "Angle" candidate.
Other than the fact that she had trouble speaking clearly and in complete sentaces and was totally off base with most of her viewpoints I think she did rather well. She didn't fall off the stage,......................
I'll tell you what a real low blow is, saying the "the war is lost" and "the surge has failed" while the fight was going on. A fight that, as it turned out, was highly succesful and not a failure. You can't run and hide from your record Harry, you and Nancy have run the Congress since 2006 and the country has gone down hill since. You started off by raising the minimum wage (that worked out great for jobs), rejecting Bush efforts to tighten regulation on Fannie mae and Freddie Mac (great move there) and then you championed a failed stimulus bill, taking over the US domestic car industry and not to mention the health care debacle. Time to pay the fiddler
Oh man she killed him in the debate! Harry your a wimp!
Just like O'Donnell she doesn't know her facts. It's a shame when you are running for the U.S. Senate seat of a state, Nevada in this case, and you don't even know the basic state historical facts. The true color of the Tea Party is shining and it is not a very bright color.
Characterizations of Social Security coming from those who want to kill it range from misleading to downright fraudulent. Angle is on the fraudulent end. The idea that the Social Security "trust fund" is empty is as vacuous as the idea that the treasury is empty because we have a federal debt. Does it mean people won't get tax refunds when they file their income tax returns? No, of course not. It doesn't mean federal employees won't get their paychecks, either. Angle is either too lazy to learn the truth about Social Security, or she's deliberately fooling voters.
In case the majority of CNN viewers missed it, this was a butt-whipping for Dingy Harry!
Kinda hard to attack a democrat on wealth. They're basically advocating for their own tax increases, so it's not a good card to play.
CNN continues to show it's liberal bias. Making it look like Angle was unprofessional and delivered a 'low blow' instead of giving a headline about how the debate went. Why don't they ask how Reid became so rich as a congressperson? Why isn't that in the headline?
In all these congressional debates, I am struck by the complete absence of any reference to the endless wars in the middle east. Yet even as we speak there is a movement brewing in the House to repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Force, which unwisely gave the President broad war-making powers. And what about trimming wasteful spending from the Pentagon budget? Or the START Treaty which the Senate has yet to ratify? Runaway military spending is making us a poorer nation, yet it doesn't seem to be a campaign issue!
She is obviously an Obtuse Angle. She continues to push the Bush ideas of Privatization. If we privatized SS imagine where you would be with the market crash. All Privatization does is to put more money into the pockets of Wall Street.
Harry aint perfect but he is FAR BETTER than she would be in office.
Just a Bad Angle here!
How low have we sunk as a country for people to not see through the likes of the Sharon Angles of the world. This country is doomed.
So, we have a wealthy guy who wants to eliminate the tax cuts for the wealthy. We have an angry woman who thinks he has lots of ill-gotten gains, but should not have to pay taxes on them. Who would you vote for?