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.
how dare she! lol you libbers are so dunzo in November
If Nevada voters vote Reid back into power then the citizens of Nevada deserve everything that they will get which will be same old rubber stamp for Obama and continued high unemployment and a deteriorating housing market. Reid has done such a terrible job for the Nevada citizens it is amazing that the race is close at all. Not sure why anyone would want to keep this career politician in office and allow him to destroy the great state of Nevada.
By the way, what's this "Man up, Harry Reid" business? What a bad-mannered creature this Sharon Angle is! And as far as the "professional politician" charge goes, that gag's so old it has whiskers. ANY career politician is a professional in the best sense of the word: do we want Congress to be run by a buch of rank amateurs with no experience in public life? If Angle is really accusing Reid of graft, that's a serious charge and she needs to back it up with facts, not innuendoes.
I have no probblem following CNN's Rules
I wish Harry Reid would do it also ,The Rules are written In The Constitution.
I am only going on what I have read,but I did look up on internet Harry Reid Past history He can say he invested good ,but according to what i read added all up and It has , a wee bit of tint to it,in fact it it has an Odor to it . Fishy you might say. Sorry harry ,but that what I read . So do all the white PAINTING YOU CA DO ,BE CAUSE i THINK YOUR DAYS ARE LIITED
yOU CAN BECOME WHAT THERY cALL A gOLDEN oLDIE
qUCIKER tHE BETTER
eliminate elected official salaries. That will put an end to that argument...
Please excuse all my Grammerical errors and spelling in last post I have been having eye problems lately
I am an Hispanic Voter Nobody Tell Me or Suggest Me How To Vote It Is My Constitutional LEGAL Right.
I won't "misdirect" my vote. I won't vote "stupidly". I will vote to better the country not to destroy the country. I won't vote according to special interests. I will vote according to my conscience.
These politicians just bully each other. You did this and that They don't tell us what they will do to fix it and HOW they will do it. I don't want to hear what the other party didn't do I want to hear what your going to do and how. I don't care what party you are. Enough is enough of how bad the other guy is, tell me how good you are and what your are going to do and how.
Come on Angle, please explain how to make up the Trillions of $$$$ if you make the Bush unfunded tax cuts permanent? It is always easier to say than to do, the Tea Party extremists have zero ansers, only rhetoric. We pray the electorate will see through that and vote to move us forward, not back to the dark ages (even though they keep wearing their designer reds).
Reid said it was a low blow to attack his wealth? Good lord. Democrats can dish it, but they sure cry like a baby when it's turned around on them. Angle wiped the FLOOR with this moron.
Wow! CNN is REALLY struggling to help Democracts...The headline from the front makes it appear that Angle struck a low blow and acted crazy during debate when in reality that was just a opinion/comment from Reid during a debate the EVERYONE reports he lost! Way to report, CNN.
Gee Harry, are you going to take care of the rest of the country like you took care of your own state?? Is THIS what we should expect?? Nah, not buying the Kool Aid this time around. This administration has failed on an epic level and the blame Bush excuse is getting old and nobody is buying it anymore. Matter of fact, notice they harldy bring it up, their new excuse is "who is funding the GOP". Funny how this wasn't a problem when Obamy and pals was raking it in from left wing radicals and terrorist groups. Well guys, we tried it your way for 4 years and look where is got us. Your time is up....NEXT !!!!!
Angle is despicable! I thought all you GOPers were into people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps? Harry Reid EARNED his money, has been responsible with it, and has chosen to serve his state and the country that gave him the OPPORTUNITY to earn his wealth.
Shame on you, Angle!
Asking how he got so rich? I often wonder how congressmen and 'forget' about millions worth of taxable property. Have they got that much money?
How can Angle and all these other supposed "fiscal conservatives" justify extending the tax cuts for the wealthy, when that will add $780 BILLION to the deficit?
Why don't they just all "man-up" and admit they care more for the wealthy than the average American and are determined to turn our country into a third-world, dog-eat-dog nation where if you don't happen to be born into wealth, to HECK with you!
GOP = What a bunch of LOSERS
Low blow!? Mr. Reed's getting exactly what he's been giving the American people all aong. He's reaping what he has sowed!
Good for for you Ms. Angle. Can you imagine, a life-long Democrat making a statement like that. Goes to show how disenchanted the populace is with the NObamas, the Pelosis, the Reeds, etc., etc., etc. of America.
Great cure for the deficit. Everyone who votes for Angle and is on medicare or social security is taken off and is relieved of being associated with the stain of socialism. Then just let nature take its course.
Fixed income??? Reid just lost the Senate.
I love how either side will say a particular ploy is a dirty trick, and yet they do the same.
These two parties are a disgusting caricature of what Juvenal must have thought of when he first wrote of "bread & circuses".
If the people of Nevada do not have the sense to figure this one out, we are really in troulbe. I cannot imagine how anyone would come to the conclusion that Sharron Angle has any of the attributes necessary to qualify as Senator in Congress. Like too many angry misguided Americans, her supporters are ready to cut off their nose to spite their face. We have seen what the GOP has to offer and it was soundly rejected. This malignant growth called the Tea Party Movement is all about reactionary political strategists using Texas oil money to manipulate the uneducated with simplistic ideas and slogans. Just because they are loud, does not mean that they have any real support. In two years, they will be relegated to a footnote in American politcal history, in a chapter about the rise of corporate and media manipulation of voters.
Regarding mammogram coverage by insurance companies:
"What we have is a choice between free market and Americanism... America is about choices," [Angle] said, arguing it should be an issue left up to the private sector."
This is what YOU need to accept, Angle: It's a heck of a lot cheaper to pay for early diagnosis of breast cancer than to pay for treatment. It's a lot cheaper to pay for preventive health services like immunizations and well-child visits than to pay for treatment of easily-avoidable diseases.
You are a cold-hearted nutjob, Angle! And from what I've heard and read, you've always been a dim-witted disaster for Nevada and nothing's really changed about you.
Take your sour, idiotic, numbskull, nasty attitude AND GO HOME!
Angle has been observed to angrily assail Reid , besides making certain egregious statements, just to score huge political points, rather than genuinely generating some sympathy for her constituency. Her avant garde methods seem quite nauseating to say the least. But then that's the way a lot of tea partiers comport.
The fact that her facts are all wrong is killing her. She's the stupidest person they could possibly have run against him, and I suspect they want her to lose so they can go on demonizing Reid to voters in other states. Also, I think she is probably a witch.
Isn't Sharron Angle also on the government payroll? Her logic fails again.
Wow pointing out that you are rich is a low blow Senator? Then stop signling out rich Americans for special treatment on taxes .... Now you know how it feels.....