Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) – Nevada's two Senate candidates traded barbs Thursday over Social Security amid a new report about comments Republican nominee Sharron Angle once made about federal social programs.
"Isn't it us that should be caring in our community" for those that the Lord believes need help - Angle says in an audiotape posted on the website viddler.com and earlier reported by Politico - those who are "the least among you?"
"We do have a lot of wicked ways that we can confess as a church," she said.
At an event with senior citizens, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized his opponent, accusing her of calling programs Social Security and Medicare "wicked."
But Angle's campaign said Reid was misconstruing Angle's comments.
"There's nothing in that text calling entitlement programs 'wicked,'" Angle spokeswoman Ciara Matthews said in a statement. "This text says that the programs are fine, but we should be caring for our community. Again, go to any church in America and you'll hear a sentiment like that."
Social Security and its future have been a source of ongoing controversy for the Republican.
Angle has called for the privatization of program, but she recently told CNN National Political Correspondent Jessica Yellin she no longer supports that idea because of additional information she received. She now says she would not fight to abolish it.
Reid, however, said Angle should "stop frightening people who are on Social Security" when talking about its future financial stability.
"Seniors voting for her are voting to get rid of Social Security," he told reporters.
The Angle campaign shot back. "Harry Reid is the one responsible for the current dismal state of the Social Security system. He voted to move $2.5 trillion out of Social Security to pay for his pet projects, including Obamacare. Sharron believes the government needs to keep its promise to seniors and pay back the money that was stolen from their retirement," Matthews said.
With early voting ending in the state on Friday, both campaigns are planning major events to help spur their followers' enthusiasm and encourage voter turnout on Tuesday. Sen. John McCain will appear at a rare public rally with Angle Friday. First Lady Michelle Obama is coming to Nevada for an event with Reid on Monday.
Reid also told reporters he did not put a lot of stock in recent polls showing the race either a dead heat or a small advantage for Angle.
And while the candidates sparred through the media, their latest volleys in the multi-million dollar ad war hit the airwaves Thursday, with each side aiming for the other's presumed weak points. Angle's ad ties Reid to President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, while Reid's paints "Angle's Nevada" as short on compassion and regulation.
The latest financial records show Reid's campaign has spent $8.4 million on advertising while the Angle camp's commercial spending tops $7.1 million, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, CNN's ad consultant.
Outside groups have boosted spending to more than $32 million overall in the Nevada Senate race, one of the most hard-fought and most watched contests in the country. It ranks fourth in outside group spending for Senate campaigns, according to the Sunlight Foundation, which monitors money and politics.
Reid told reporters that the big spending on ads has been necessary "because she won't talk to you ... the only way to do it is through paid advertising."
He pointed out that his campaign sends out releases advertising events, but Angle's does not. Earlier this week she left an event through a back door to avoid reporters, and she has posted photographs of her meeting with voters at events reporters either were not told about or were barred from attending.
Meanwhile, the Angle campaign says it has raised more than $300,000 since talk show host Joy Behar called Angle a b–ch because she was upset with an ad that targeted Reid on immigration. Angle sent "The View" co-host flowers and a note of appreciation.
Behar, who also hosts a show on CNN sister network HLN, apologized on Thursday, saying she meant it as "a term of endearment."
– CNN Political Research Director Robert Yoon contributed to this story.