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The Senate Race:

Live blog: Harry Reid, Sharron Angle continue attacks at debate


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Sharron Angle and Sen. Harry Reid take part in a debate moderated by Mitch Fox on Thursday at the Vegas PBS studios.

Updated Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 | 7:46 p.m.

Reid Angle Debate - Oct. 14 2010

Sharron Angle and Sen. Harry Reid exchange pleasantries after their debate, moderated by Mitch Fox, center, on Thursday at the Vegas PBS studios. Launch slideshow »

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sharron Angle have been lobbing verbal stink bombs at each other over the airwaves for weeks, and in the hour they faced off at the Vegas PBS studios, they kept up the pattern.

Angle pledged in her opening statement to highlight “the contrast” between her and Reid — and to that end, she took several direct shots at Reid, turning to him to say things like:

“That’s nuts,” “You need to apologize” and perhaps the best of the night, “Man up, Harry Reid.”

Reid chose instead to keep his face to the camera, even when defending himself against Angle’s attacks. He frequently called his “opponent” (he never uttered her name) a liar, and “extreme.” But for the most part, he tried to stick to substance, a move that makes sense for the candidate that’s the sitting senator.

The two candidates showed they couldn’t be more diametrically opposed on all of the major issues in this elections cycle either — from housing to unemployment, from the country’s wars to homeland security, and let’s not forget taxes.

But if there was one issue that emerged as the central sticking point of the night, it was health care.

Viewers would have noticed Angle’s frequent repetition of “Obamacare,” and Reid, especially, kept returning to the third-rail issue every time he could grab an extra second, ricocheting the conversation back from the Iraq war and taxes to clarify points of his position on health care.

For those wondering about the format: Angle had won all four coin tosses the night before the debate, so it was her call where she stood (stage right), who got the first opening statement (Reid), who got the last closing statement (her) and who would take the first question (Reid).

The questions were all the brainchildren of moderator Mitch Fox, host of Nevada Week In Review on PBS.

7:05 p.m.

Each candidate had a minute to wrap up with their closers.

Reid, again, went first (that’s what losing the coin toss loses you, it appears — the final word.)

He listed what he’s highlighted as Angle’s negatives: Favoring big banks, opposing reforms for Wall Street, or regulations for corporations and the environment — and her past statements mocking renewable energy jobs as “designer jobs.” Reid has said he believes renewables are the key to saving Nevada’s economy.

“I am for the middle class,” he said. “We have a long ways to go, but we’ve made some progress, and I’ll continue to do everything I can.”

Angle had the money spot, and she milked it. “Why do I smile so much?” she said, grinning. “I’m an optimist, like Ronald Reagan, I believe in American exceptionalism.”

Angle outlined “simple solutions” with a lighthearted lilt in her voice — cut spending, pay back debt, repeal health care.  She ended with a closer straight out of Politics 101. With a smiling shrug, she hit the cameras with: “I’m Sharron Angle, and I’m asking for your vote.”

6:59 p.m.

It took awhile, but we eventually got to one of the big elephants in the policy room — taxes.

Angle supports a full extension of the Bush tax cuts, and Reid supports a limited extension — Obama’s plan to cut taxes on the first $250,000 of every family’s income (a plan that’s supposed to lower taxes for 97 percent of the country), saying anything more would up the deficit too much.

But the conversation turned personal quick.

Angle turned to the camera — the first time she took a direct shot at Reid — and said, “We can’t trust you with our taxes! You came from Searchlight to the Senate with very little, now you’re one of the richest men in the US Senate. On behalf of the Nevada did you become so wealthy on a government payroll?”

Reid shook his head as he answered.

“Mitch, that’s really a low blow,” he said, as he explained his career as a lawyer and success investing his earnings. “I put my five kids through 100 semesters of school and I paid for every penny of it,” he said. “It’s really false, and I’m really disappointed that she would suggest that.”

6:53 p.m.

Talking about the U.S.’s military commitments is one of the most emotional issues you can get to, and Reid and Angle aren’t immune to that.

Reid was asked about his comments that the Iraq War is lost and whether that demoralized the troops. He spoke of his accomplishments in helping the Iraqis become more independent, his friendship with Gen. Petraeus and his military and veterans’ endorsements.

Angle spoke of supporting the troops wholeheartedly, and then struck Reid with a zinger: “You need to apologize to them, senator!”

Reid took his retort straight to the camera, holding his hands together as if to summon patience. “I’ve been endorsed by the largest military organization in the country. My opponent wants to privatize the Veterans Administration.”

6:52 p.m.

Social security — to privatize or not to privatize? There’s few subtleties here, in a debate that’s been raging since the Bush days.

Says Reid: “Don’t frighten people about social security — the deal was made by President Reagan...the money is there and will take care of our folks for the next 35 years.”

Angle: “Man up Harry Reid!” She then railed on Reid about the economy being in the red.

Reid: “That’s extreme!...We don’t offset the deficit with Social Security!”

Angle: “We’re in the red.”

6:48 p.m.

Yucca Mountain — Nevada’s special local issue. Reid and Angle both oppose using it as a nuclear waste dump, but when it comes to what to do with it...there, they differ.

Angle spoke of coal plants and catching up to the technologies of the day. Reid appealed to a slightly less known project — power lines systems, most of which are based on renewables.

“There isn’t enough water in the whole state of Nevada to build a nuclear reactor,” Reid said to Angle, who has been reported to support such a project for Yucca.

Reid and Angle also briefly exchanged words on education, but no surprises there — Angle thinks the Department of Education is just skimming money from the schools. Reid doesn’t.

6:40 p.m.

An interesting curve ball from Mitch set up the fourth set of questions: Who is your favorite Supreme Court justice?

Reid had a smart answer: Antonin Scalia, probably the most conservative judge presently on the bench. Why? “I don’t agree with his opinions, but he is a masterful mind. He is really an example to anyone who appreciates the law.”

Angle went with a more contentious choice: Clarence Thomas — not exactly the No. 1 choice of most women, given the Anita Hill scandal that shadowed his nomination to the bench. Why? “Because he understands his constitutional boundaries on the Supreme Court...not legislate from the bench.”

Fact: Half the fun of the Supreme Court is the live hearings. According to a New York Times study that came out a few years ago, Scalia is the most questioning and talkative judge. Thomas is the least; he says nothing.

The conversation then devolved into constitutionalism — a favorite in this election cycle. Reid attested that he carries a copy of the Constitution in his pocket (he did not whip it out).

Final question: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the military’s policy of not letting gays publicly serve in the military, which Reid attempted to attach to a defense authorization over the last few weeks in Washington. Angle criticized Reid, so he retorted: “She simply doesn’t understand what went on in Washington.”  Ooh, direct hit — not ready to be senator?

Angle didn’t take that one sitting down. “It’s the wrong way to do legislation,” she retorted. “I do know the process, the process is: Read the bill first.”

6:33 p.m.

Foreclosures and jobs: The two places where Nevadans, unfortunately, can say “we’re No. 1.”

No real surprises here. Reid defended his record of pushing a first-time homebuyer tax credits, getting Bank of America to issue a moratorium on foreclosures last week and regulating Wall Street: “They won’t be able to do to us what they did before.”

Angle took a dig that went unanswered by bucking the commonly-cited chronology: “The housing bubble was caused a long time before this recent recession,” she said. “This problem has been going on ever since Sen. Reid has been in leadership, before Obama.”

The moderator asked Angle about her claims that people can make more from unemployment than by going back to work, and that it wouldn’t be her job as a senator to create jobs. She responded that to get Nevadans back to work, she needs to set policies that encourage the private sector to do what they do best: Hire. Moderator: “So that’s a no.”

6:26 p.m.

Another issue upon which Reid and Angle disagree vigorously: Health care.

The moderator opened by asking Reid why he first focused on health care and not foreclosures. After pointing out that wasn’t true (Congress passed a mortgage fraud law before health care, which came only at the beginning of 2010, a year into the 111th), Reid defended the health care reform, by saying it will reduce debt by $1.3 trillion.

Angle, making sure to call the health care law “Obamacare,” hit back with another powerful statistic — it’s taken half a million out of Medicare.

Reid retorted that Angle’s against mammograms, colonoscopies and funding care for autism.

Angle responded by saying she’s taught autistic kids and that the disorder needs its own insurance code.

But the big difference came when they were asked about insurance companies and abortion.

Insurance companies — should they be forced to cover anything? Angle said she trusts the free market. Reid scoffed at the idea of anyone trusting insurance companies to do the right thing by anyone.

And on abortion, should it be covered?  Angle was very emphatic with her “no.” Reid had to be asked twice what he thought. Both times, he refused to move beyond the facts to the realm of opinion, saying only that the Hyde amendments (which prohibits federal funding of abortions) is part of the bill.

6:19 p.m.

The first three questions were about immigration, an issue on which Reid and Angle couldn’t disagree more.

Reid defended his record on enforcement by talking about a law, passed in August, that put predator drones policing the border and more national guard troops on the border.

Angle then took the floor with a strong opener that will appeal to her base: “What we have is an illegal immigrant problem.”

She advocated that every state get a law enforcement leader like Sheriff Joe Arpaio — a controversial character who has advocated laws that have been characterized as racial profiling — and adopt a law like Arizona’s SB1070, not sue to stop it, as the Justice Department is doing.

She also directly accused Reid of allowing 11 foreign countries (also on the lawsuit) to dictate immigration policy in the United States and took ownership of one of the live-wire terms that’s been used against her in paid advertising, telling Reid “that’s just nuts!”

Reid got a bit of a dig in a few moments later, after Angle’s answer on a second immigration question rambled into Reid’s position on Social Security, which she thinks is an ineffective program, directly chastising her for not answering the question.

Final question on the subject: Make English the official language in the US? Angle: “yes.” Reid: “English is already the official language.”

6:01 p.m.

First, the shallow stuff.

Sharron Angle, who won the coin toss, chose to stand on stage right – an appropriate position, given her conservative roots.

She also opted for a bright, fire-engine red suit —– in homage to the Republicans’ signature color perhaps?

Reid, meanwhile, also chose to wear red — his tie — with white flowers.

And now, the substance.

Reid was the first to give an opening statement. He started with stories about his father — “a big man” and a miner who often worked without pay during the Depression. He reminded Nevada of its history — “at the top of the economic food chain in Nevada for 20 years,” and now at the bottom of a deep hole.

Reid took direct aim at Angle with the following comment: “I believe my No. 1 job is to create jobs as a United States senator, that’s why I’ve worked very hard to do just that.” Angle has said she doesn’t think it’s her job as a Senator to create jobs.

Reid also spoke about reducing taxes for 95% of Nevadans, and on small businesses, eight times. He invited viewers to fact-check him on Facebook and Twitter.

Angle spoke of “the contrast” between her and Harry Reid, between big government and small government, and between constitutional government and unconstitutional laws (that Harry Reid has voted for, she said).

Angle criticized Reid for voting for the stimulus and “policies that have hurt Nevada,” which has the highest rates of foreclosure in the nation.

“Tonight you will see the difference between Harry Reid and big government and Sharron Angle and limited constitutional government,” she finished.

5:50 p.m.

In the final hours before their first and only face-to-face debate, Harry Reid’s and Sharron Angle’s preparations have been as different as their politics.

For Reid, the experienced speaker, it’s been a day of ribbon cuttings.

For Angle, who is less used to a national stage, it’s been a day of preparing for her live moment.

For weeks, the candidates have been at each others’ throats in every sort of paid media imaginable, in what many commentators have called the most acrimonious — as well as most contentious — Senate race in the country.

They’ve called each other everything from “out of touch” to “extreme.” They’ve dredged through each others’ records, and they’ve toured the state, hoping to win over voters.

Little of it seems to have moved the polls. Angle leads Reid by about two points in the polls, but with a three-point margin of error, they are statistically neck and neck.

But tonight, instead of speaking about each other, they’ll be speaking to each other — for one hour, in sixty-second spurts.

For Angle, it’s her chance to show she has the gravitas and weight to take over a seat that’s been held by the Senate’s most powerful Democrat since 2004.

For Reid, it’s a chance to show that Angle’s not qualified for the heft of the Senate.

In the days before the debate, Angle’s campaign has been downplaying expectations — pointing out that Reid has much more experience and stressing that while Angle’s plain-spoken style of a “Reno grandmother” may not play out at the podium, that’s not what the race is all about.

The race has long since moved past local politics. The national Tea Party movement has honed in on Sharron Angle as its poster child and best bid to start ridding Washington of the ills they say have poisoned the country and worsened the recession.

For national Democrats, who are losing ground across the country, the race is a referendum — hold onto the leader of the Senate and you preserve some approval for the job that has been done.

Either way, the outcome of the election in Nevada will be a watershed for Democrats, Republicans, and Tea Partiers looking toward 2012.

But back to tonight.

Debates have been known to sway elections — especially when one candidate can outshine another.  With Reid and Angle, there’s no obvious winner though. Both are prone to gaffes and neither is really known for a particularly infectious style at the podium.

But in this case, absent a major event, things may just plod along as normal.

The Reid-Angle race has quite an allure nationally — but in Nevada, residents are starting to reach a saturation point. And while about 10 percent of the population is still undecided — or pledging to vote “none of the above” — no one is sure exactly what may sway those voters.

In some ways, the scene outside the debates may be the most telling. Up until about an hour before the debate, national media outnumbered the candidates’ supporters gathered outside — Reid supporters stage left, Angle supporters stage right.

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  1. That was just wrong! The moderator said"A simple Yes or No question. Angle said Yes. Reid said "English is already the official language". I call BS! Reid dodged the question.

    And now he just dodged the next question about why he and Obama focused on healthcare insurance instead of jobs and housing issues.

    Angle is starting out good.

  2. This moderator is starting to show a bias. Pushing Angle on questions and letting Reid slide.

  3. Angle is making a fool of herself; I know, hard to believe!

  4. Does Reid have any idea of what a Yes or No question is? And again, the moderator let Reid slide without answering the question, this time on abortion.

  5. What is this BS? The moderator is putting questions that attack Angle to her, but asks general policy questions to Reid.

    Is he being paid by MSNBC?

  6. Does Angle have a brain, she is a scarecrow with no idea of reality.
    She sounds so uneducated about specifics. She is tied to health insurance companies and the managed medical care that benefits the insurance companies and not the people in need of medical care. By the way, health insurance is one thing we all deserve Ms. Angle. Your set because of your husband in more ways than one.

    Unemployed and 56, and no one wants to hire you. Too much education, too much experience, and want too much money, so here we are without jobs. No jobs because politicians on both sides.

    She is only an attacker, which is only to take away from the absence of knowledge on the subjects at hand. Not one solid answer yet.

    Watching this is very funny, she has zero experience, no statistics, no friends, and noone in politics that would be on her side

  7. Once again, Reid dodged a question, this time he refused to name a SCOTUS Justice he does not approve of. But he liked one because he was a pro-football player at one time.

  8. I guess you aren't watching the same debate that I am, boftx... he certainly named Scalia...

  9. And again Reid ignores the question on DADT and attacks Angle. He is scoring no points as a debater.

    The moderator is terrible.

  10. He named Scalia as someone he admired, he never said who he thought should never be on the bench.

  11. Harry is making Mince Meat out of Mangle!

  12. Angle says fix SSI somehow, Reid says nothing is wrong right now, let someone else worry about it.

  13. Question: Is your name Harry Reid, please say yes or no
    Answer: I have to object to the form of the question. According to Senate rules, my name is Senator Harry Reid.

    This is an example of course but sadly it appears accurate. Harry gets more embarrassing by the minute.

    I can't wait for Gmag to defend Harry and slander Sharron.

  14. getalife;
    Harry is doing real well...
    Angle, not so much. Sorry!!!

  15. Gmag, stop drinking...... it's affecting your judgement

  16. Is Harry really taking credit for the surge now?

  17. Now that is an outright lie, Angle has NEVER said she wants to privatize the VA, and Politifact and Factcheck back that up.

  18. getalife;
    I don't drink.

  19. This moderator has challenged Angle almost every time a question was posed to her first, but so far only twice has he challenged Reid with questions.

  20. Gee, Reid didn't like being asked the obvious question, just how DID he become so wealthy as a Senator?

  21. Why does he keep going back to Clinton years for good things? Can't he say how Obama has done good things for the economy? Now he has the gall to talk about pay-go when he ignores it in practice!

    I wanted to puke when he said he brought jobs here with the help of China. What the #@$@#$#@!!!!

  22. Wow!
    Harry Reid's Strong leadership versus Angle's wingnut doctorine. Reality versus fantasy...
    Nice job, Senator Reid!

  23. I know that many will disagree with me, but Angle held her ground just fine. That counts as a win with me considering how Reid dodged several questions when she didn't.

    I expect her to go up in the polls after tonight's debate.

  24. Oh, you better believe that Sharron Angle was dodging questions. Do not point the finger. If any of you were paying attention then you would know that she could NOT support her arguments! It was so obvious how she was just regurgitating and sorry Sharron but you don't simply smile because you're an optimist, you smile because you don't know what to say or how to defend your arguments with FACTS! She's a liar and an extremist! We cannot afford to lose the Senator to this crazy woman that does not understand the needs of the people that live here in Nevada.

  25. Before this debate I figured I would have to hold my nose and have a barf bag handy when I went to vote. Now I think I can leave the barf bag behind.

  26. It appears that many times, most of the time Ms. Angle did not have an answer for the questions. She went after Mr. Reid instead of answering the questions.

    boftx. Mr. Reid did answer the question about his wealth but you had to listen to the answer to know that.

    What is wrong with China bringing a plant here to employee American workers. Last I knew most where pissed off because the jobs where going to China. ;-)

    Debates do no good when you have already decided everything before the debate. The object was to listen to what these people had to say.

    Yes, Mr. Reid dodged some questions but Mr. Angle just did not have any answers. She was on the attack instead of giving us any useful information on why we should vote for her.

  27. Angle spoke gibberish, and backpedaled on at least five of her statements. Holding your own is not winning. She is way too extreme. Eliminating and privatizing will corrupt the rest of America. The rich will stay rich, there will be no middle class, and the poor will be the majority of us.

    The middle class need representation. The rich buy there's...and the poor don't have representation.

  28. vegaslee,

    Angle did give reasons to vote for her, but as you just said " had to listen to the answer to know that."

    I heard Reid's answer about his wealth. My followup question would be this: when did you have time to work a second job for the last 24 years?

  29. When have taxes not been raised? Very few administrations have had a benefit like that.

  30. It's no wonder Reid dodged Angle whenever she mentioned his "Thrift Savings Plan".

    Look at this:

  31. Yes, Harry should have taken a vow of poverty whilst serving Nevada in the Senate...just like ALL evil Government employees.

  32. I was disappointed with both. Angle avoided questions and parroted conservative populism all night. Reid avoided questions and and his oratory skills are lacking. Overall, I know what I'm getting from Reid, not so with Angle.

    I'm also disappointed that Angle has not come out publicly against the Pastor's comments on Mormons...I guess setting the record straight on religious discrimination is not that important to her.

  33. dipstick, please provide a non-partisan link to a story that shows Angle said she wants to privatize the VA. Even Politifact called Reid out on that one.

  34. ALL EMPLOYEES that I am aware of, whether in the private OR public sector, have access to 401Ks and the like to AUGMENT their Social Security check.

  35. I sincerely hope the Sun can post a transcript of this debate.

  36. It really was funny listening to Reid say there was no shortfall in social security. I guess he hasn't read the paper put out by the Nobel winner that Obama wants in the Fed:

  37. Senator Reid showed that the negative propaganda against him is just that - propaganda bought and paid for by Karl Rove and his Texas billionaire buddies who want to buy back control in Washington.

    Angle was well-rehearsed, and although she stuck with her talking points, she came across as snide, self-satisfied, and inexperienced.

    Reid has represented Nevada well and will continue to do so. The last thing we need is Karl Rove running the federal government again.

  38. Barb,
    Nicely stated!

  39. "Reid bold faced lie: Plenty of money in the social security trust fund. Fact is, it's broke."

    "Social Security expenditures are expected to exceed tax receipts this year for the first time since 1983. The projected deficit of $41 billion this year (excluding interest income) is attributable to the recession and to an expected $25 billion downward adjustment to 2010 income that corrects for excess payroll tax revenue credited to the trust funds in earlier years. This deficit is expected to shrink substantially for 2011 and to return to small surpluses for years 2012-2014 due to the improving economy. After 2014 deficits are expected to grow rapidly as the baby boom generation's retirement causes the number of beneficiaries to grow substantially more rapidly than the number of covered workers. The annual deficits will be made up by redeeming trust fund assets in amounts less than interest earnings through 2024, and then by redeeming trust fund assets until reserves are exhausted in 2037, at which point tax income would be sufficient to pay about 75 percent of scheduled benefits through 2084."

  40. "Angle says fix SSI somehow, Reid says nothing is wrong right now, let someone else worry about it."

    Oh stop lying. Reid didn't say nothing was wrong, he said that both the CBO and the SS actuarians say it's solid until 2035, and that it will then begin to pay out less that what is currently promised. He even gave the 10-15 percent figure.

    Too bad you weren't paying attention.

    Further, he didn't say "Let someone else worry about it." That's a blatant lie, he said that small reforms were needed, aka "tinkering."

    Here's the fourth sentence from the PDF you just posted, which you apparently didn't read:

    "But Social Security's long-term financial health can be restored: the projected deficit is small enough that it can be eliminated through aprogressive reform that combines modest benefit reductions and revenue increases."

    That's clearly what Reid was referring to when he mentioned that the fix would be relatively simple.

    Contrast that with what Angle has said!

    Sharron Angle has said for years that Social Security needs to be phased out and eliminated.

  41. "Reid bold faced lie: Plenty of money in the social security trust fund. Fact is, it's broke."

    So let me get this straight... I have 2.3 trillion in the bank, even after paying out what I owe this year, and you think I'm broke?

    Even by your own math, Social Security can pay out 75% of benefits 70 years from now! How in the world is that broke?

    Again, refer to this sentence, quoted from "evidence" from an Angle fanatic:

    "But Social Security's long-term financial health can be restored: the projected deficit is small enough that it can be eliminated through a progressive reform that combines modest benefit reductions and revenue increases."

    Modest reforms are necessary. We don't need to phase it out and eliminate it like Angle has repeatedly said she wants to do.

  42. OK, the debate just finished. Angle did not come across as a crazy person. In fact, she seemed rather normal. She was a bit fuzzy on facts, and tended to rely on slogans a lot. She mentioned Ronald Reagan at least twice, and got in "American exceptionalism" and "There you go again." I lost count of her references to the Constitution and "Obamacare." On several of her answers, she repeated claims that Harry replied were "simply not true," e.g. his support for Social Security benefits for illegal aliens. She attacked "No child left behind," as well as the Department of Education, and reiterated that she wanted to "personalize" Social Security. But no truly stupid gaffes. She came across as a normal person with far right ideas.

    Harry was a bit tongue-tied, but he had a ready command of the facts. I'm pretty sure several of his statements stretched the truth a bit, but I didn't hear anything plainly false from him. He gave a great defense of health care reform, vigorously defended Social Security, and the VA. He tended to defend the Clinton administration a bit more than necessary, but put it in context. He came across as knowledgeable, engaged, and caring.

    Favorite Supreme Court justices was an interesting question. Reid mentioned Scalia, Angle liked Thomas, didn't think Sotomayor or Kagan should have been confirmed based on her understanding of the Constitution. Harry replied that the Supreme Court should be de-politicized, and we should just find the best legal minds available. He also said Bush v. Gore was a terrible decision, but pointed out that when the decision was handed down, Bush took office without any riots because we're a nation of laws. Point to Harry!

    On many questions, Harry went into a lot of wonkish details that probably left the average viewer nodding off, while Sharron kept it down to slogans. If you care about facts, Harry won; otherwise, Sharron did a better job of staying on her script. They got into Yucca Mountain, and Harry pointed out that Sharron wanted to use the facility to generate nuclear power, but there isn't enough available water in Nevada for cooling. Sharron responded that there are newer technologies involving liquid metal cooling, used on submarines. I pointed out that submarines are surrounded by water, but no one was listening.

    If you are a public policy-oriented person, Harry clearly won the debate. But if you came looking to verify that Sharron Angle is a kook, you came away empty handed. Both had to defend some of their prior statements, and both came well enough prepared to do so that neither looked particularly disingenuous.

    Final score: Harry won, but Sharron didn't embarrass herself, and so she might have benefited ever so slightly.

  43. "...[Reid] said that both the CBO and the SS actuarians say [Social Security is] solid until 2035,..."

    If that's not kicking the can down the road I don't know what is. And he had no real response to why SS is paying out more than it took in this year, something that wasn't expected until 2016. (And yes, I am fully aware that others have answered that, but Reid couldn't.)

    If Reid had any real courage he would have said that yes, there is a problem coming and the way to fix it is to tie live expectancy into the equation, just like FDR did at the very beginning by picking a retirement age that most people *at the time* could not expect to reach.

    And that's the dirty little secret about SSI, it was never expected to have to pay out in the first place. People would have to work til the day they die in most cases.

  44. "If that's not kicking the can down the road I don't know what is."

    Nice, first you claim he didn't acknowledge it, but got caught misleading... now you say he's kicking the can down the road? So dishonest, boftx.

    "And he had no real response to why SS is paying out more than it took in this year, something that wasn't expected until 2016. (And yes, I am fully aware that others have answered that, but Reid couldn't.)"

    Couldn't? Try again. He was given 60 seconds to explain Social Security's solvency AND why it was paying out more. Angle didn't really touch on why it's paying out more either, but you give her a pass?

    Try holding the candidates to the same standard.

  45. "How does a "professional politician" dedicated to public service become a multi-millionaire?"

    The same way anyone becomes a multi-millionaire in a capitalist democracy: by living on less than you make and investing wisely. I've done it, and so has Harry Reid, and about eight million other Americans. What's YOUR excuse?

  46. ksand, I said he kicked it down the road with my *first* comment but using different words. Nothing dishonest or misleading there.

    Here's one to you. Did Harry ever answer any of the "Yes" or "No" questions with either "Yes" or "No" like Angle did? (And please don't tell me that English is the official language of this country. If that was indeed the case, there wouldn't be a debate over making it so. Harry failed on that one.)

  47. I don't think anyone with a lick of sense needs to be told by some proclamation of Law by the Federal Government that in America,
    "We speak English"... To do so would be merely trying to be inflammatory.

  48. I think what some folks really want is a law that says "we don't like you people speaking your Spanish; and we don't like them signs in the stores in Spanish".

  49. Harry suffers from stage's ok, so do I. I appreciated Harry trying to answer each question, and thoroughly explain some of his positions. Sharron was like a hamster in a cage, ever going round and round with every worn out talking point she could remember.

  50. Ms. Angle's comments about "Obamacare" tonight again demonstrate that she is out of touch she is about health care and "free market".

    Health insurance only works with the GROUP buying power of employer sponsored insurance. People don't buy insurance in the "free market" in this country. They get insurance from their employer who can purchase that insurance as a large GROUP with cost sharing and protections that go along with that GROUP. In Ms.Angle's case, she gets her insurance plan from a BIG GROUP government health care plan.

    The very small percentage of people who buy insurance in the "free" individual market play a completely different ball game. First, they must go through intense medical scrutiny to PROVE they are worthy of health insurance. Many are flat out denied coverage completely. Many others are charged outrageous rates for even simplest preexisting medical conditions. The fact is that profit motivated insurance companies DO NOT WANT to cover people who might actually NEED health care. Therefore, a lot of hard working Americans are completely left out of the whole health care system. Even if they are able to buy private insurance when they were young and healthy, there is very little protection them from being singled out and dropped when they do get sick.

    Health Care Reform basicly gives people who buy insurance in the INDIVIDUAL market (the self employed and those that work for small businesses) similar tax subsidies and protections as those that get insurance from their employers. Individuals will be able to go to the exchanges and choose to buy from the same group plans offered to our senators and congressmen.

    As someone who has actually bought insurance in the INDIVIDUAL market I know from experience that it is NOTHING like simply signing up to join an employer (or a government) GROUP insurance plan. I am OUTRAGED and OFFENDED that Ms.Angle compared her own Government Health Care Plan with buying insurance in the "free market". This shows she is completely out of touch with the reality of how private health insurance works in the free market. The bottom line is that individuals NEEDED the group purchasing power that Health Care Reform provides.

    We NEED this Health Care Reform because, without it, the only decent and reliable access to health care is by a family committing one spouse to work full time for a company large enough to good health insurance benefits. That is a tragic violation of our freedoms and liberties as American citizens. People should be able to choose their employers, work for themselves or start their own business without concerns for sacrificing health care for their families.

  51. No, gmag, what some of us want is this: if you are a citizen of this country, then there should be no need to have ballots in any language other than English since you either should have learned it from birth or had to learn it to pass the citizenship test. If you want to receive the benefits of society as a citizen then you should be able to read English. If you want your children to receive a free education then they should learn in English.

    A fairly significant savings could be realized by not having a need for governments to provide everything in multiple languages and pay premium wages for people who speak multiple languages.

    That is fine for the private sector, and I'm all for that as I know the business benefits of that. It is not fine for the public sector.

    When Reid said English is the official language of America he was just plain wrong (and a coward for dodging the question.) There is in fact nothing in any law or the Constitution that says that. We have always taken it for granted until the latter part of the last century when that very fact was pointed out.

  52. "can I sell you my house at a price to cover the mortgage"

    Is it actually a house? I thought your kind preferred living under bridges. By the way, you really should comb your hair.

  53. Once the debate is fact-checked, we'll know who was actually telling the truth. Once Angle started with her "I didn't say that", "that's out of context", "I'm not a career politician", and then just avoided answering most questions, and Reid answered a yes/no question on abortion funding with 50-75 words to avoid saying yes but his supporters say no (or vice versa) and bobbed and weaved his way on most questions, I could see we were in a for a waste of time. If the moderator is going to ask questions, then he should cut them off and get the answers.

    The debate I'd like to see is this one but not live. Fact-check it and put the quotes or videos or laws interspersed with the answers. I don't keep the Hyde Amendment in RAM. If Reid or Angle says something, show me it's true. Think The Daily Show showing when Cheney, Bush, Obama, Palin, etc. were "mistaken" about what they had said.

    Did Angle really say she liked Clarence Thomas? He's not known for his strength of analysis. Even people who disagree with Scalia, and there are a lot of them, acknowledge that he's a constitutional heavyweight.

  54. "Did Angle really say she liked Clarence Thomas?"

    She did, indeed. Note that Justice Thomas is married to a Tea Party activist, Ginni Thomas, so I'm pretty sure that was an influence. While none of the Nine should be deemed intellectually inadequate, few would argue that Justice Thomas is a leading light; indeed, he rarely questions counsel during oral arguments before the court. But if there's an eight to one decision, the one is almost always Thomas. Perhaps Sharron sees him as a kindred spirit. He also has little regard for stare decisis, which bothers Antonin Scalia somewhat.

  55. bg, I appreciate the point you make (including what you say about some native English speakers) and won't deny that it can present problems. In the case of naturalized citizens I would speculate that such are motivated enough to learn enough to comprehend the ballot measures. They have already demonstrated a good deal of determination. As for our native citizens, I'll fall back on what so many others have said: you can't fix stupid. That is the big reason I would like to see people have to pass the citizenship test in order to be a registered voter.

    By the way, given that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory I don't think there is such a thing as an "illegal Puerto Rican." (Was that what Harry was referring to that time when he call illegal immigrants "illegal Americans?") And I'm fairly certain that illegal immigrants are not allowed to join the military. At least, not unless Harry has his way and passes what he calls comprehensive immigration reform.

  56. "Just where are those jobs at by the way Harry?"

    There are plenty of jobs, if you're well-educated and have work experience in information technology, chemical engineering, medical research, bio-tech, software engineering, or aerospace. Just not in our two-note Nevada economy. Now, you can blame the federal government for that if you like, but the rest of us are going to think you're a bit daft.

  57. It has been posted that "Harry looked a bit tired and devoid of any energy."
    Harry is 70. No matter what the naysayers on these pages will argue, he has a tough job, with quite a bit of stress. Can you imagine?
    Yep, I would look a bit tired and lacking energy too... (and a little irate at the ignorance & voracity of my opponent).

  58. gmag, if you are among the group who say McCain is too old to be president or do his job, then you should be saying Reid is too old for another term. As it is, some of Reid's verbal gaffes should make you wonder if he is starting to go senile.

  59. I never said that, boftx... McCain's biggest problem was picking a half-brained, half-term quitter for a running mate.
    Just because Harry Reid is not a thesbian up there on the debate stage, and stumbled a little over his words, I would certainly be of the opinion that he STILL looked heads & shoulders above Angle in the KNOWLEDGE & TRUTH department. And your gal Sharron stumbled through the ENTIRE DEBATE to come up with her Rovian talking points... I was embarrased for her on several occasions...but hey, darrenodawg is SURE that she rang the bell; I couldn't disagree more. Further, though your gal Angle is nearly 10 years younger, she's not exactly "Cougar" material!

  60. @tester;

    "What are the Democrats doing? Following a Marxist utopian like Obama down the primrose path to Hell."

    It's rhetoric like this that keeps us from having any logical, reasoned discourse in America.

  61. "Here's one to you. Did Harry ever answer any of the "Yes" or "No" questions with either "Yes" or "No" like Angle did? (And please don't tell me that English is the official language of this country. If that was indeed the case, there wouldn't be a debate over making it so. Harry failed on that one.)"

    No, he didn't. And no, I don't care. Frankly, you've already claimed that the moderator was biased and paid by MSNBC, so why do you care if Reid followed the instructions?

    Shouldn't you be concerned that Angle's again proposing changes to the Constitution the claims to cherish. First she advocated changing it to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples to deny them rights, now she wants to tack on some extraneous and irrelevant amendment about language?

    Furthermore, wouldn't a Constitutional amendment mandating a use of language infringe on individual liberty? Limited government, unless you want the freedom to use the language of your choice! Hypocrite.

    For someone who claims to value the Constitution so much, she sure does want to radically change it, doesn't she?

    It just reveals she's a complete fraud when she claims to respect the founding fathers. Heck, back in the day, immigrants spoke any number of languages, and the founding fathers didn't care to declare anything about language.

    Shame on anyone who falls for that xenophobic pandering.

  62. gamg, I didn't know if you were in that camp or not, hence how I phrased it. For myself, I was going to vote for McCain after Hillary lost, but the the RNC picked Palin for his running mate (I refuse to accept that McCain made that choice) and wound up voting "None of these candidates."

    I won't agree that Harry was "heads & shoulders" above Angle in anything. But at this point I want to have a transcript handy to debate the finer points of that.

    More than anything, there were no major gaffes other than Harry's English is the official language remark. And when you consider how no one would ever bet on Angle not making a gaffe, I'll give her the win, but would be willing to agree with you on a draw (which arguably would still be an Angle win in some ways.)

  63. How about "fact checking" this for me, boftx...
    "Harry Reid voted to give social security to illegal aliens"... I'm still scratching my head over that one.

  64. Although she performed better tonight than in earlier settings, Sharron Angle was out of her element. The distinction between the two candidates couldn't be more clear. Harry Reid is a life-long Nevadan with a genuine love for the state and a demonstrated record of success. Angle is a Tea Party darling who has been fed millions of dollars and juiced up on talking points - all tarted up for the party but no where to go once its over.

  65. ksand, does the word "sophist" have any meaning for you?

    I said the moderator gave the appearance of having been biased given how he gave Harry a pass on a few occasions. The questions to Harry definitely seemed less pointed than those to Angle. I am sorry you can't appreciate the humor intended with the QUESTION about him being paid by MSNBC.

    You should recall that I have pointed out in the past the contradiction between some of the Republican views, just are there are contradictions in some Democratic views. That said, I see Angle as the lesser of two evils by quite a ways when I consider Harry would be Majority Leader.

    As an aside, I am taking a serious look at the Modern Whig party as being a reasonable alternative to Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and the rest. (The history of Whigs is well worth researching.)

  66. "As it is, some of Reid's verbal gaffes should make you wonder if he is starting to go senile."

    Careful boftx, Angle's already proven she's willing and able to fall victim to any paranoid right-wing myth that comes across her desk. Sharia law in Texas? What a joke!

    Too bad they didn't offer her some tap water at the debate to watch her cower in fear at the flouride.

    I'll take Harry over some crazy woman who's willing to believe and repeat ANYTHING she reads. What a gullible disgrace.

  67. gmag (I apologize for the earlier typo),

    Here is the Politifact analysis of the Reid voted to give illegals SS benefits claim:

    They wound up giving it a "Barely True". Politifact tends to have a slight bias when rating Democrats, but usually don't fudge Republicans either way.

  68. "The questions to Harry definitely seemed less pointed than those to Angle. I am sorry you can't appreciate the humor intended with the QUESTION about him being paid by MSNBC."

    Man, that sure was "funny," insinuating bias and questioning Mitch Fox when you didn't like how unprepared your candidate appeared. Sorry the moderator didn't spoon-feed your candidate the "questions she wants to answer." Remember that quote?

    Why is it the losing team always blames the ref?

    "As an aside, I am taking a serious look at the Modern Whig party..."

    Descent into irrelevance continues...

    "That said, I see Angle as the lesser of two evils by quite a ways when I consider Harry would be Majority Leader."

    Yup, you'll give your vote to the woman who wants to enshrine discrimination into the Constitution. Who would limit the choices in personal expression!

    I guess your libertarianism is only theoretical and never applied in principle.

  69. Hannible,

    It is no surprise at all that the poll on this paper would show Reid winning. The Sun is well known for having an editorial position that supports the Democratic Party and as a consequence so do most of the readers.

    I have no doubt you will find the exact opposite result on the RJ site.

    That said, I think there is a somewhat more even mix between left and right among active posters on this site than the RJ, if for no other reason than the RJ commenting structure sucks when it comes to trying to have a discussion with "known" entities. Basically, the Sun has a much better website than the RJ.

    You must bear in mind that the number of people who only read the website, who might vote in a poll, is much greater than the number of us who want to also write and the mix of left/right between the two groups won't be the same.

    To be honest, I was surprised that the poll is as close as it is on the Sun. Here in the comments area it's pretty even.

  70. How to choose the lesser of two evils.

    Make a list for each candidate of their positions you DON'T like. Then assign a value of 0 - 5 of the likelyhood that they could actually take action on it if elected.

    Total up both lists. The lower score is the lesser of two evils for you. It doesn't really matter what good you think they might do, it is the amount of harm that counts.

    This is a sad commentary on politics today, but it is what we must deal with as long as the people nominating candidates refuse to engage in rational discussion and compromise.

  71. "This is a sad commentary on politics today, but it is what we must deal with as long as the people nominating candidates refuse to engage in rational discussion and compromise."

    Oh this is too much. Compromise? From the Angle supporter? Compromise is antithetical to her nature.

    While in the Assembly, she regularly voted against the interests of her constituents, casting extreme vote after extreme vote. That's why her disappointed constituents refused to send her to Congress four years ago. Heck, even republicans thought she was unqualified to be in the Nevada State Senate!

    Unfortunately, due to Senate rules like "unanimous consent," Sharron could wield unprecedented power in the United States Senate, placing holds on important legislation or appointments. Given her history of refusing to compromise on anything, this could do unprecedented harm to our nation.

    Reid is not perfect, no politician is, but no one can deny that his position as Majority leader is a position Nevada should not want to give up, especially to replace him with a extremist back-bencher in the minority party who is hell-bent on shutting down the government.

    Sharron's extreme and dangerous views have no place in the United States Senate.

  72. @tester...
    I don't argue with wingnuts. Sorry!!!

  73. Metman...
    you might want to wait to uncork the champagne...unless you want to drown your sorrows.

  74. tester...
    Sorry, dad.

  75. "Reid is not perfect, no politician is, but no one can deny that his position as Majority leader is a position Nevada should not want to give up, ..." - ksand99

    And that is exactly why Nevada should give him up. By definition his position of Majority Leader means that his number one priority is NOT Nevada but the Democratic Party. Not our State, not our country, but his Party.

    You need look no further than the Louisiana Purchase and the Cornhusker Kickback for proof of that. The Democratic Senators from those states played Harry like Charlie Daniels plays a fiddle.

  76. Nightingale,

    Please post the link to the RJ poll.

  77. teamster,

    What do you call a landslide? Just how much do you think Reid will win by?

    I tell you what, I'll wager you a BBQ that Reid will get less than you say he will. By that I mean if you win the bet I'll buy the pork butt and fixin's, if I win the bet you have to buy the pork butt and fixin's. I'll smoke it either way.

    Tell me how much of the vote you think Reid will get.

  78. Hi Jeff, good to see you back. :)

    No, I'm not her biggest supporter, but maybe the most pragmatic or cynical. And why should I get a haircut, do you need a wig? :)

  79. teamster,

    Are you serious, you don't eat BBQ? Man, you gotta work with me here, I'm trying to find a way that we can get along even though our politics don't match up.

  80. teamster,

    I'm sorry to hear that. That is exactly the reason we have such crappy politicians to choose from. People need to be able to talk about their differences over a beer or Scotch and some BBQ and a good cigar.

  81. "By definition his position of Majority Leader means that his number one priority is NOT Nevada but the Democratic Party. Not our State, not our country, but his Party."

    Empty rhetoric; a Senate leadership role doesn't mean Harry isn't fighting for Nevada and accomplishing things Angle couldn't and wouldn't lift a finger to help.

    "You need look no further than the Louisiana Purchase and the Cornhusker Kickback for proof of that. The Democratic Senators from those states played Harry like Charlie Daniels plays a fiddle."

    Actually, the Cornhusker Kickback was removed from the final legislation... thanks to Harry. In essence, the deal was struck to get Yea votes on cloture, and then stripped via reconcilliation. Seems Harry was playing chess but you can only comprehend checkers, boftx.

    Harry got his vote and Nebraska got no special treatment. But let's see you try to spin that!

    As for Louisiana, seems you've again fallen for the right-wing echo chamber. First you claim "the Democratic Senator" played Harry when Bobby Jindal and Louisiana's Congressional delegation (including republicans) had been requesting a change to the funding formula for almost a year!

    The provisions in health care reform that benefit Louisiana now can and will benefit ANY state that has a natural disaster or crisis of Hurricane Katrina proportions.

    "First, a little background: The Senate provision has to do with boosting federal support for Louisiana's Medicaid program, which everyone agrees is in deep crisis. Louisiana stands to lose $450 million-$500 million in federal Medicaid funding next year and $1 billion the year after that."

    "Why? Because the feds are counting one-time aid given to the state after Hurricane Katrina -- like housing support and insurance grants -- as an increase in household income, causing federal formulas to kick in that will slash Washington's share of Louisiana Medicaid support from the usual 70-73% (up to 80% this year) to 63%."

    You might want to read that article, even Republican Presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal supported that measure.

    Increased Medicaid funding to states hit with cataclysmic disasters was the right thing to do, and I'm proud of Harry for getting it done. Next time, try some research and update your information before mindlessly repeating the RNC's debunked talking points.