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November 17, 2017

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Republicans call for party unity at state convention

Sharron Angle goes on attack; GOP national chairman backpedals on Afghanistan comments


Steve Marcus

Republican Party National Committee Chairman Michael Steele speaks during the state GOP convention Friday at the Green Valley Ranch in Henderson.

State GOP Convention 2010

U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle speaks during the state GOP convention Friday at the Green Valley Ranch in Henderson. Launch slideshow »

U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle and national GOP Chairman Michael Steele tried to unite Nevada Republicans with a call Friday night to defeat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The two spoke at a “Unity Dinner” held as part of the Nevada Republican Party Convention at Green Valley Ranch.

Angle stuck to her already-known positions on issues, repeatedly praising former President Ronald Reagan and condemning Reid in her 20-minute speech.

“I need a unified party that understands, like Reagan did, that if you’re 85 percent in agreement with me, you’re my friend,” Angle told the 300 party faithful who paid $75 to attend the dinner.

The party is “all united in one effort, with one focus, and that’s to defeat Harry Reid,” she said.

That comment was later echoed by Steele, who said, “Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, the Republican Party of Nevada is united. It is ready; it is going to win.”

Angle was introduced by one of her primary election opponents, Danny Tarkanian, who praised Angle and said the “heart and soul of the country is at risk in this election.”

Tarkanian’s introduction was an effort to overcome internal discord after a heated primary race.

“Harry Reid is counting on one thing and one thing only,” Tarkanian said. “He’s counting on a divided party, a divided...and splintered party. He doesn’t think we can come together and beat him.”

Steele commended Tarkanian for his support of Angle.

“It says a lot about this moment for this state that people can come together, despite the hard-fought battles,” he said.

The national chairman repeatedly hit on the unity theme.

“I don’t want to hear any excuses. I don’t want to hear any nonsense. I don’t want to hear any stupidity coming out of this party about anything other than Harry Reid’s stupidity,” he said. “We don’t need to fight inside our own house. I’m tired of it. End it tonight.”

The party needs to be united to be successful in a “Republican renaissance,” he said.

“Our fight is not with each other but with Harry Reid and Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and every Democrat in Washington for ruining our economy, weakening our national defense and robbing the future from our kids and grandkids,” Steele said.

Steele and Angle repeatedly attacked Reid, who spent the last two days campaigning in Las Vegas with President Obama.

“For the last two days, Harry Reid and President Obama were the picture-perfect duo, weren’t they?” Steele said. “All lovey-dovey, arm-in-arm, talking smack. Well, Sharron Angle is about to smack Harry upside the head.”

Angle blamed Reid for Nevada’s economic problems.

“This man has been water boarding our economy for the past year and half with the stimulus, the bailout and Obamacare,” she said.

“Harry Reid’s answers are to extend unemployment and give us temporary jobs,” she said. “The real answers are pay back the debt, cut back on the spending, take back our economy so that our businesses can provide permanent, full-time jobs for the future.”

Angle reiterated her previous statements that she would stop the raiding of Social Security, dismantle the Department of Education and repeal health care reform.

She also said Nevada needs to diversify its economy, suggesting that the state allow more mining and consider storing nuclear waste.

Steele spent part of his 35-minute speech retreating from comments he made last week about the war in Afghanistan that brought criticism and calls for his resignation from some Republicans.

In a July 1 speech, Steele said the war was “of Obama’s choosing” and suggested it couldn’t be won.

“I want to take this moment among friends to clarify because I know that my remarks may have been a little bit confusing or misunderstood,” he said Friday.

“Afghanistan is a war we can win. It is perhaps the hardest place in the world to win a war, but this is America and with the right leadership, the right resources and the right rules of engagement on the ground, we not only can win, we must win,” he said. “We will win and we will not leave our soldiers alone in the battle.”

After the event, Angle, who has been criticized for avoiding the press, took questions from reporters, but her staff only allowed four questions and cut off reporters trying to follow up on Angle’s responses.

The convention continues Saturday, with Republican candidates for other offices scheduled to speak in the afternoon.

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