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January 20, 2018

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Reid, Lowden spar over car bomb story, Gibbons joins mix

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gestures while speaking on health care reform during a news conference, Monday, Oct. 26, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

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Sue Lowden

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Gov. Jim Gibbons speaks with reporters in Las Vegas during a Sept. 10 news conference on the I-15 expansion project.

WASHINGTON -- So was Harry Reid’s car rigged with a bomb during his days as a Nevada gaming commissioner?

Read the police reports and decide for yourself. You could start with the subject line “Specific Crime: Attempt Homicide.” The reports are here. Or the bomb squad log entry here.

Republican Sue Lowden, one of the candidates trying to oust Reid in next year’s Senate election, had a good chuckle over the veracity of the bomb scare story that Reid uses in a campaign ad during her interview last week on the Heidi Harris radio talk show.

Lowden, a former television journalist, said she didn’t recall the 1981 bomb scare story and questioned if it was true during an interview with the conservative radio show host on KDWN.

Reid hit back earlier this week, citing newspaper clippings from 1981 reporting on the incident.

Undeterred, Harris, the radio show host, continued raising questions on the air Tuesday, inviting Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons, who is also up for re-election and may face Reid’s son, Democrat Rory Reid, to join in the debate.

Gibbons offered his own theory, suggesting the bomb found in Harry Reid’s care may have been something else -- "My understanding is it was a telephone book and a shoe box," the governor said.

Is this a swift boat attack, Nevada-style?

In Reid’s book, “The Good Fight,” the senator recounts how his wife, Landra, realized something may be amiss when the family station wagon started acting funny. At the time, she recalled that another gaming commissioner, George Swarts, had discovered his Oldsmobile rigged with a bomb. Landra quickly called her husband and the bomb squad arrived to investigate.

The July 1981 police reports released from Reid’s team today spell out what the officers found:

“Harry Reid became a victim of an attempt homicide when an electrical device was found linked from the engine to the fuel tank in an apparent attempt to ignite the fuel.”

The July 29, 1981 log from the bomb squad investigators’ book under the entry at Reid’s house adds additional detail.

“Device Removal,” the bomb squad log page entry begins. Then it spells out what the team found:

“Spark plug attempt. (Same as before on gaming Comm. Member (Swartz).) But a little more sophisticated in that a ground was provided this time.”

So was there a bomb threat?

You decide.