October 14th, 2010
11:49 AM ET
11 years ago

Angle, Reid ready to spar in Las Vegas ring

Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) - Both Sen. Harry Reid and Sharron Angle know a lot is at stake tonight with their one and only debate. Each candidate has something to prove and also needs to try to dispel some negatives as polls show this race - one of the most hotly contested Senate races in the country - neck and neck.

So far what voters here have mostly seen is a continuous loop of attack ads both by the campaigns and by outside groups going after everything ranging from the candidates' positions on immigration to the future of Social Security and Medicare to their votes on providing Viagra or mammograms. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on ads in the Senate race, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, CNN's consultant.

With both candidates having a majority viewing them negatively, according to a just released Suffolk University poll, they will have to try to convince voters both why they are the best person for the job as well as why their opponent is not.

Both Reid and Angle have had some practice sessions to prepare for the hour-long session to be held at the Nevada PBS station. Both campaigns are engaged in the usual pre-debate spin about who may have the advantage going in and who has the tougher job in tonight's session.

The debate comes at a crucial time with early voting in the state set to begin Saturday.

With several recent incidents of supporters having tussles at events, the organizers of the debate are only allowing each campaign to have 12 representatives in the audience and have divided the parking lot outside the studio into specific areas for each camp.

About 100 members of the media will be here to chronicle the event.

Reid can be expected to continue to attack Angle's record and how he says she has flip-flopped on key issues. Hours before the debate his campaign released its latest ad going after her past statements.

"It is important for the people of Nevada to understand long-standing positions of my opponent– phasing out Social Security, killing Social Security. She believes Medicare is unconstitutional– remember it was passed in 1964," he told CNN in an interview Wednesday.

In a rare interview with the national media –also on Wednesday– Angle provided a preview of what she will probably say in the debate to that charge.

"I didn't change my position. What I have had is more information on that position. I used to think that Social Security and retirement privatization was the only way that we could have personalized accounts. But as you know, Harry Reid and many of his staff are government employees, have what we call a thrift savings plan, which is a personalized retirement account. So it occurs both in the public sector and the private sector. All I'm saying is that we need to give people the option of a personalized Social Security retirement account that they can have as a benefit and an asset to themselves," she told CNN.

For his part Reid will be on the defensive regarding the dire economic conditions in the state, which leads the nation with 14.4% unemployment. Ninety two percent of those polled in the Suffolk University Nevada survey say the recession is not over, and 61% say the stimulus bill did not bring jobs to the state.

Angle has attacked Reid hard saying in one ad: "Want to know just how out of touch Harry Reid is? Spending 787 billion on a stimulus that failed is a start."

Asked by CNN whether he has failed in his efforts to help spur job creation, Reid defended his record.

"Well, of course, the economic recovery package that brought tens of thousands of jobs to the state of Nevada. And, for example, with education alone, almost a billion dollars for education. Just in August 1 we stopped 1,400 layoffs. That was all part of what was originally in the stimulus bill," he said. "But the fact is, we avoided a worldwide depression. That's a fact. Things would have been a lot worse. Now it's difficult for somebody that is struggling to accept that. But that's the truth. And I'm going to continue my message. My most important job is to continue to try to get jobs for the people of the state of Nevada."

One political analyst says the two have thing in common. "They both have the same strategy - not to say anything stupid," David Damore of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

If Angle believes in luck she goes in to the debate with one advantage. Her staff won all four coin tosses to decide who went first in opening and closing statements (she will go second in both); which podium she wanted and who gets the first question (he does).

Filed under: 2010 • Debate • Harry Reid • Nevada • Sharron Angle
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. shoegazer

    Well,I guess she can be thankful that the debate is not taking place in either Dearborn or Frankford.........

    October 14, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. stufthis

    As long as there are republicans, there will be a need for government to keep us safe, whether if be air travel, our food, our air, our water, our resources. Republicans have a poor track record on anything that will help Americans. 'Sharia' Angle is not going to do a thing to help the job situation in Nevada, as she has said it is not the job of government to help create jobs. As for the stimulus, to say it failed is a lie. It averted a depression, and prevented three million people from becoming jobless.

    October 14, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. stufthis

    I hope Harry doesn't call her crazy, as we already know that.

    October 14, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. carlos

    there she is folks, LA BRUJA from Nevada, scary as hell.........and she is running for the senate????????...umbelievable.
    Brooms are in great demand.

    October 14, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. carlos

    with kochtributions and a couple of other donors......only in america can the egghead rove still be free, shameful!

    October 14, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  6. diridi

    vote for only Dems...good luck...

    October 14, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. PalmReader

    Looks as if the party of fiscal responsibility is sending their top gun out to pander her $14M haul in an attempt to promote the GOPer/TeaPer fiscal responsibility mantra. The irony of it all . . . Rather reminds me of Meg Whitman. Kinda hard to sell less spending and fiscal responsibility under the circumstances, but what the heck, who really cares, as long as the GOPers get a win, right GOPers? Can't wait to see their fiscal responsibility in action once they regain power. Kinda think it might be a repeat of the Reagan/Bush rule book, if history is any indication of just how fiscal this party truly is.

    October 14, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. stufthis

    I think he could have done more for the American people, but Harry needs to run on his accomplishments and smack down the republican party of lies and obstruction. I wish someone could explain to a right wingnut that the CBO scored health reform as a deficit reducer, but the wingnuts are not into facts, just lies.

    October 14, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. carlos

    One political analyst says the two have thing in common. "They both have the same strategy – not to say anything stupid," David Damore of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas told the Las Vegas Review-Journal............but, she has already said a million stupid things......put lipstick on a pig...and, it is still a PIG

    October 14, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. katiec

    Although Angle will be well rehearsed it will be difficult for her to not say something stupid as her whole campaign runs on stupidity of how government really works.
    She has been so "mistreated" by the media with their reporting her actual comments and stances, stating she was misquoted or never said that when they are on tape.
    Heaven help us and our country if Nevada actually elects this incompetent.

    October 14, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. Richard T.

    As a Nevadan and US citizen, I am asstounded that anyone can support government retiree benificiary Sharron Angle. Just her history in the NV Assembly demonstrate she is ineffective and destructive. She will stop at nothing and stomp her feet to get her way or no way. Twice voted worst legislator and also # 2 and 3rd worst in other years. This was in the polling of the conservative Las Vegas Review Journal that now endorses her. Sharron Angle introduced 5 bills in the NV Assembly. All of them were self serving, such as those related to home schooling.

    Who are the people that support this mean spirited, self serving incompetent?

    October 14, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. T'SAH from Virginia

    14.4% unemployment in NV only means NO ONE IS GAMBLING – case and POINT! That state has plenty of employment if the season is right – it's NOT right!!

    That's just my opinion – for what it is worth!!!

    Reid will win this election!!!

    This is T'SAH from Virginia and I approve this message!!

    October 14, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. William Jefferson

    So demeaning for a man of Reid's stature to have to debate such an obviously unqualified neophyte. Her own party in her own state say she has done nothing in state government, that she is a dnagerous extremist, and she can't even answer simple questions posed by reporters. A women who in a thinly vieled way told her supporters that should they lose they shoudl shoot congresspersons. A woman who thinks old people should live in squalor, that Medicare is a bad thing....the fact that she is even a candidate shows how far the US has fallen in recent years.

    October 14, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. Tomas

    Like the mediocre state legislator, Sharron Angle – these so-called "conservatives" describe a radical (and liberal) view of their own self-perceived entitlement over others. Is me-me-me really a conservative value? Try and find out who is paying for her ads. That oughtta tell us something.

    October 14, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. Cosmo

    Is Angle really going to be there in person or is she just going to send her Blackberry and some Karl the Weasle cash to speak for her?

    October 14, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. The Stem

    Crazy Sharon and her insane beliefs are about to be broadcast across the nation tonight and I hope the nation see how dangerous she is. Moreover, I hope this serves as a barometer for how crazy all of the other Tea baggers are and how bad it would be to put any of these idiots in office. This country is in a rebuilding from the awful Bush years. So, let's not interrupt the administriation's effort to lead us back to prosperity. Moreover, it boggles my mind how you Repubs stood by and watch Bush drive us into a ditch for 8 years and you won't even give Obama (one of the most intelligent leaders we've seen since Bill Clinton) even 4 years to "right the Ship". If this country sinks deeper into a depression because you all voted for the misguided principles of the idiots Tea-baggers then you deserve to have you and your family members suffer through what will be worst than the depression of 1929. Good Luck to you

    October 14, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  17. Whatever

    Shoud be very interesting!!! If she hired the same individual that helped Palin and O'Donnell – she'll have a deer in the head lights moment too!!!! Maybe the Republician party should hold convention in Las Vegas, it will bring unemployment down, if only for a few months but then they can claim victory.

    October 14, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. FedUp

    Deficits and Depression
    By Victor Davis Hanson
    We will learn in November just how angry the public is about a lot of things, from higher taxes to massive unemployment.
    But the popular uproar pales in comparison to the sense of humiliation that we Americans are quite broke. In 2008, the public was furious at George W. Bush, not because he was too much of a right-wing tightwad, but because he ran up a series of what were then thought to be gargantuan deficits. The result was that under a supposedly conservative administration, and despite six years of an allegedly small-government Republican Congress, the deficit nearly doubled from $3.3 trillion to $6.3 trillion in just eight years.
    Barack Obama apparently never figured out that he had been elected in part because that massive Republican borrowing had sickened the American people. So in near-suicidal fashion, he took Bush's last scheduled budget deficit of more than $500 billion - in a Keynesian attempt to get the country out of the 2008 recession and financial panic - and nearly tripled it by 2010. Obama's new red ink will add more than $2.5 trillion to the national debt - with near-trillion-dollar yearly deficits scheduled for the next decade. All of that will result in a U.S. debt of more than $20 trillion.
    What exactly is it about big deficits and our accumulated debt that is starting to enrage voters?
    First, the public is tired of the nonchalant way that smarmy public officials take credit for dishing out someone else's cash without a thought of paying for it. Each week, President Obama promises another interest group more freshly borrowed billions, now euphemistically called "stimulus." But the more public money he hands out to states, public employees, the unemployed or the green industry, the more voters wonder where in the world he's getting the cash. The next time a public official puts his name on yet another earmarked federal project, let him at least confess whether it was floated with borrowed money.
    Second, there is a growing sense of despair that even vastly increased income taxes cannot cover the colossal shortfalls. At least the old Clinton tax rates of the 1990s balanced the budget. But should we bring them back, we would still run a deficit of more than $1 trillion in 2011 - given the vast increases in federal spending.
    That bleak reality creates hopelessness - and anger - among voters, who feel they are being taken for fools by their elected officials. The public opposes tax hikes not because they don't wish to pay down the debt, but because they suspect the increased revenue will simply be a green light for even greater deficit spending.
    Third, it does no good for Beltway technocrats to explain how deficits are good at "stimulating" the economy, or why they do not really have to be paid back. Voters know that such gibberish does not apply to their own mortgages and credit card bills.
    Voters feel relieved when they can pay off debt and become chronically depressed when they cannot. When the government last balanced the budget in 2000 under the Clinton administration and the Republican Congress, the country collectively experienced as much of a psychological high as it is now collectively experiencing humiliation over being ridiculed as a spendthrift borrower.
    So national reputation and sense of self also matter. Americans are tired of hearing about inevitable Chinese ascendency and American decline. They know China is still in many ways a repressive developing country facing huge political, environmental and demographic challenges. But Americans also concede that China's huge budget and trade surpluses result in trillions of dollars in cash reserves - and hence global clout, world respect and a promising future that seems not likewise true of spend now/pay later America.
    Fourth, there is real fear that something terrible will soon come from this unsustainable level of spending. Interest rates are at historic lows. But if they should rise, just servicing the current debt would cost even more hundreds of billions in borrowed dollars. Soon, we will face a bleak choice of either slashing national defense or Social Security - or both - just when the nation is graying and the world is becoming more dangerous than ever. Will the Chinese lend us the money to deploy an aircraft carrier off their coast, or finance new American health-care entitlements that they cannot afford for 400 million of their own people?
    In this upcoming election, all the old political pluses - years of incumbency, entrenched seniority and pork-barrel earmarks - are proving to be liabilities. Instead, the more public officials admit to being in control when trillions of dollars were run up, the more Americans want them gone.
    We are humiliated by what we owe. If we cannot pay it back, will at least want political payback.
    It's that simple this year.

    October 14, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  19. Adalbert

    By now it is clear to most people that fox, angle, palin, beck and rush are leading the teabaggers and the right wing republicans into the gutter. Their platform will continue to be lies, treats and more lies leading the gullible and the uneducated into oblivion.

    October 14, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    While Harry Reid may not be the most charismatic person, he has a proven track record of helping Nevada and our country.

    All Angle has to offer is the stock Republican platitudes, accompanied by a lot of frankly insane comments and ideas.

    Do yourselves a favor, good people of Nevada: Re-elect Harry Reid and send the nutjob Angle back home!

    October 14, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    Times are tough all across our country – so WHY ON EARTH would you elect someone from the party who put us into this mess in the first place?

    Vote to drive (D) our country forward; don't put it in reverse (R)!

    October 14, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. Mona

    The previous posts are dead on. It baffles me that this ill informed woman could get enough votes to win. I hope people are keeping a close eye on the voting machines because I wouldn't put anything past those in the Republican teabag backroom. They want to win this one so badly and they have already shown that they will stop at nothing to win. Such great behavior from all those family value types. The whole disgusts me.

    October 14, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. Fair is Fair

    "14.4% unemployment in NV only means NO ONE IS GAMBLING – case and POINT! That state has plenty of employment if the season is right – it's NOT right!!"

    Say what you mean and mean what you say. What you're really saying is that Nevada's economy is based on tourism. Fair enough. Having said that, I'd have to pose this question – what has Harry Reid done to diversify the economy of Nevada to buffer it's citizens from a downturn in the tourism industry? Answer – absolutely NOTHING.

    October 14, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  24. carlos

    dear voters, after watching the debate in Delaware, what a disgrace this country will be if the odones, pauls, angles, palins, bucks, quayles, whitmans, fiorinas, the woman ?? in Arizona get elected......unfortunately others like brown in Mass., odone in Va. and christy in NJ have already been elected and voters remorse is already showing and growing.....IT WILL REALLY BE AND IS A DISGRACE TO HAVE THEM AS OUR REPS IN CONGRESS OR IN STATE GOVERNMENTS

    October 14, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. Bob

    Why not tell us what time the debate will be broadcast?

    October 14, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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