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Political Memo:

At rally, Angle not afraid to verbalize hypocrisy

Sharron Angle


Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle, shown last month, was interviewed Saturday in Las Vegas at a free speech event that was closed to most media.

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle on Saturday bashed “favor-buying pork” politicians, seemingly oblivious to the hypocrisy of her remarks given that she offered her own political “juice” as leverage in trying to persuade a third-party candidate to drop out of the race.

While talking about the health care reform bill that Congress passed this year, Angle said: “We don’t need some kind of favor-buying pork ... Harry Reid isn’t just another vote. He pushed it, he promoted it, he made the deals.”

Angle made the comment during a Las Vegas rally, billed as a free speech event intended to “clear up misconceptions,” but to which the press and supporters of other candidates were unwelcome.

I was spotted midway through the rally and was told it was a “closed event” but was allowed to remain.

Hundreds of Angle supporters crammed into the Blue Martini in Town Square — an ironic venue given Angle’s disapproval of alcohol — to hear their candidate answer questions from conservative radio host Heidi Harris, a supporter who called herself the “official defender of Sharron Angle.”

Although Angle answered more than two dozen questions about education, immigration, health care and Social Security, she was not asked about, nor did she make any reference to, a secretly-taped conversation she had with Tea Party of Nevada candidate Jon Scott Ashjian, in which she said that if he dropped out of the race and she were elected, she would use her influence for his benefit.

“Whatever juice I have, you have as well,” Angle told Ashjian. “You want to see (U.S. Sen. Jim) DeMint? I have juice with DeMint. I go to D.C., say ‘I want to see Jim DeMint,’ he’s there for me.”

Angle’s conversation with Ashjian triggered headlines across the country and dominated talk of the campaign last week. Harris didn’t ask about it.

She did ask Angle about Mormons, in response to comments Angle’s pastor made last week calling the religion “a cult.”

Angle didn’t denounce statements made by John Reed, pastor of Sonrise Church in Reno, but did say she honors the Mormon faith.

“The LDS church is stellar,” Angle said, noting that Mormons defend marriage and life, values she holds dear. “I respect their efforts.”

Angle and Harris also took several opportunities to bash the mainstream media, which Angle has snubbed throughout her campaign, favoring instead conservative pundits who ask her softball questions and allow her to solicit donations — both of which Harris, who called political reporters “little cockroaches” — did Saturday.

“We always say, ‘If the press comes knocking, don’t say anything,’” Angle said.

Angle hit other key points:

• She said she believes autism is real but mandates to cover the disorder are a Band-Aid solution.

• She reversed her position on unemployment benefits, saying that “in some ways we need that safety net” (she previously said unemployment benefits “spoiled our citizenry”).

• She called a planned high-speed train between Las Vegas and Victorville, Calif., “an express train to nowhere.”

• She said that if elected, she plans to sponsor a bill on term limits for every elected official from dogcatcher to Supreme Court justice.

Angle did not say how long those term limits would be or set a time frame for her own political career.

“No good soldier tells their exit strategy,” she said, criticizing Republicans DeMint and U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma for doing so.

CORRECTION: A quote in this story was changed from "favor-buying whore," as was initially published, to "favor-buying pork" after a spokesman for the Sharron Angle campaign contacted the reporter Sunday night and offered an audio recording of the event to set the record straight. | (October 10, 2010)

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