June 30th, 2010
02:37 PM ET
13 years ago

Angle defends positions in interview, laughs off notion she's hiding in 'bunker'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/19/angle.art.jpg caption=" Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle spoke with well known Nevada political anchor John Ralston on Tuesday on the program, 'Face to Face.'"]

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.

Filed under: 2010 • Harry Reid • Nevada • Sharron Angle
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Brian - Seattle

    There is no "lockbox" for Social Security. She clearly doesn't even understand how the system works not to mention that it has funding for several more years.

    And on Church and State? Wow....just wow.

    June 30, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. PacificView

    ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    “Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
    The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
    Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
    The frumious Bandersnatch!”

    He took his vorpal sword in hand:
    Long time the manxome foe he sought—
    So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
    And stood awhile in thought.

    And as in uffish thought he stood,
    The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
    Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
    And burbled as it came!

    One, two! One, two! and through and through
    The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
    He left it dead, and with its head
    He went galumphing back.

    “And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
    Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
    O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
    He chortled in his joy.

    ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    June 30, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    This woman is way out of her league and should never have gotten past the GOP primary, let alone now be seriously considered a viable United States Senate candidate.

    Unbelievable that the once powerful GOP has been reduced to the ignorance shown not only by this Angle woman, but by so many, many other GOP candidates as well.

    I want no part of what these GOPers represent. What a sad day in America should these candidates be elected into Congress, let alone gain leadership positions through a GOP majority in either the House and Senate, or both.

    June 30, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. Joe E.

    What a LOON! I hope that Nevadans look at her and see what she truly is, a less attractive Caribou Barbie (Sarah Palin) clone, with the same proclivity for speeches that make absolutely NO sense. This is the face of the militant militias trying to seize power within the system. She's already hinted that power should be seized by force, if it can't be done by votes. This, friends is called sedition. Why she hasn't been arrested for this yet is truly puzzling.

    Wake up Nevada! Bury this Bozette in the proposed Yucca mountain repository for nuclear waste. She'll be right at home with all the other disagreeable waste, if it's ever buried there.

    June 30, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. Gil

    Just another repuglican that looks and sounds like a clown and a fool!

    June 30, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. Billy

    Sharron Angle: Another pseudo-politician crawls out from the woodwork. If she represents the folks in her area, then we're in for deep do-do.

    June 30, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    But she's not talking about bringing values to the political forum, she's talking about legislating dogma (public school prayer, teaching religion as science, religious symbols on government property), which is precisely what the Founding Father's intended to prevent, and what Jefferson was reassuring the Baptists about in that letter. "Generally incoherent" is an understatement. She rivals Palin and Bachmann for chipper self-assured imbecility.

    June 30, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. th

    She is just a Bible thumping moron

    June 30, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. Beverly - NYC

    The good people of Nevada must really dislike Harry Reid if they think this kook is a suitable alternative. Seriously Nevada how much influence do you think a freshman Senator will have. A newbie does not get on the high ranking committees . Which means less Federal $ for your state. Just something to think about before you board the no incumbents express.

    This woman makes Palin sound like a scholar. When Soc Sec was first enacted the most people did not live past 75, not the case today. If we privatize now, where will the funds come from to pay the current crop of retired baby boomers? Unless saving for retirement is mandatory I don't think a 20 something with maxed out plastic will do this voluntarily.

    June 30, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
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