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Harry Reid, Sue Lowden spar over votes on veterans

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Steve Marcus

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) holds “Fifi,” a toy poodle belonging to Ron Malone, right, during a campaign stop in Lovelock, Nev., Wednesday, April 7, 2010.

Updated Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | 4:08 p.m.

Harry Reid Tour

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) attaches a lock to a chain during a campaign stop in Lovelock, Nev., Wednesday, April 7, 2010. The practice is borrowed from a Chinese tradition where locks with the names of couples are locked onto a chain to ensure everlasting love. Launch slideshow »

Sun Coverage

LOVELOCK – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid again showed today he expects Sue Lowden to be his Republican opponent, delivering a sharp attack on some gauzy TV ads Lowden is running to burnish her credentials with veterans.

The ad shows Lowden, a former Miss New Jersey, as a USO volunteer entertaining the troops during the Vietnam War.

But Reid's campaign highlighted some Lowden legislative votes, seeking to portray them as anti-veteran.

Reid said Lowden sponsored a bill in 1995 that would charge non-combat veterans $100 to be buried in the state's veterans' cemeteries. The bill did not pass.

Lowden also was the only "no" vote on a 1995 bill to raise funds by offering specialty license plates for vets at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

"I'm glad she went over there with the other beauty queens," Reid said. "Standing next to somebody doesn't do anything for veterans."

Reid touted his own record, including securing funding for the veterans’ hospitals in Las Vegas and Reno, passage of the new GI Bill for vets returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and his work to ensure veterans are able to retain both disability and vets' benefits.

Lowden's campaign said she suggested the "nominal" cemetery fee because "Sue always made it a priority to maintain a balanced budget while serving in the Nevada State Senate," said Lowden spokeswoman Crystal Feldman,

"It costs money in order to properly protect, maintain and pay for the veteran cemeteries," Feldman said.

Lowden withdrew her legislation once the federal government, with legislation supported by Reid, offered its own plan to cover more cemetery costs.

Lowden's campaign explained that she voted against the license plate bill because she disagreed with an amendment requiring a minimum number of plates to be ordered before the program would get fully underway.

The Lowden team also took their own swipe at Reid, reminding that during the height of the Iraq war in 2007, when the military was planning a troop surge, the senator said that the "war is lost" a comment that drew criticism.

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