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Harry Reid rips Sharron Angle’s silence on ‘Asian’ comments, TV ad

If you dodge the media as a Senate candidate, he says, ‘you shouldn’t run’

Harry Reid Early Votes at UNLV

Steve Marcus

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks during an early voting rally at UNLV Tuesday, October 19, 2010. Reid faces Republican challenger Sharron Angle in the general election.

Harry Reid Votes at UNLV

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, center, leads a group to an early voting polling place during a rally at UNLV Tuesday, October 19, 2010. Reid faces Republican challenger Sharron Angle in the general election. Launch slideshow »
Sharron Angle

Sharron Angle


Reid has been more accessible to the media than his Senate challenger. But he has largely stuck to appearances before friendly groups and has given few in-depth interviews to the media in recent months. On Tuesday, Reid says he held three news conferences.


Republican Sharron Angle has refused to speak out about a controversial ad encouraging Hispanics to stay home on Election Day. In response to outrage over the ad, Angle released a statement in which she ignores the ad but calls Sen. Harry Reid a hypocrite.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday leveled the harshest criticism of his opponent to date, blasting Republican Sharron Angle for failing to denounce a campaign ad that encourages Hispanics not to vote and for hiding from the media.

“Have you noticed that every time my opponent screws up — which is often — she goes into her bunker?” Reid asked the crowd of students gathered at UNLV, where the senator campaigned and voted. “If you can’t talk to the media when you’re running for U.S. Senate, you shouldn’t run. But if you made some of her comments, you’d go underground also.”

Reid had criticized Angle in campaign commercials but remained relatively mild in live attacks on his GOP challenger. Even during last week’s debate, he didn’t hurl any memorable zingers.

Not Tuesday. “It says a lot when someone who knows how wrong it is just sits in her bunker,” Reid said, referring to the controversial ad encouraging Hispanics to stay home on Election Day to register their displeasure over Democrats’ failure to pass immigration reform.

Reid himself hasn’t been a beacon of transparency. He has largely stuck to appearances before friendly groups, given few, if any, in-depth interviews to the media in recent months, and his campaign rarely releases his full schedule. At UNLV on Tuesday, Reid ignored a few students who shouted pointed questions at him, although he did speak to the media after an event with UFC figures Chuck Liddell and Dana White. It was Reid’s third news conference of the day, he noted.

Angle, on the other hand, regularly runs from reporters and as recently as last week switched vehicles and used the back door of a building to avoid the media.

Reid accused her of dodging reporters this week because she doesn’t want to answer questions about her remarks to a group of Rancho High School students (when asked about a campaign ad on illegal immigration showing people scurrying along a fence and Mexicans staring into the camera, she said, “I’m not sure those are Latinos.”) or explain why she hasn’t spoken out against the ad that encourages Hispanic voters to stay away from the polls.

“Can you think of anything less patriotic and more un-American?” Reid asked. “It’s the American thing to do — to vote. How can she possibly not speak out against what they’ve done?”

Univision refused to air the commercial on its television station and pulled the ad from its radio broadcast shortly after it debuted.

The group behind the ad, Latinos for Reform — an independent political organization that is not subject to disclosure rules — released two commercials that urge Hispanics to sit out the election. The group’s leader is Robert Deposada, a conservative pundit on Spanish-language Univision who helped President George W. Bush develop his plan to privatize Social Security.

Hispanic leaders gathered immediately to urge politicians to denounce the ads.

Angle issued a statement but remained silent on the ad at issue. Instead the campaign called Reid a hypocrite — citing a new Democratic ad encouraging voters not to take out their frustrations over the economy on the Senate majority leader — saying it amounts to “literally telling people to pound sand instead of voting.” “We encourage all Nevadans to vote and they should vote for Sharron Angle,” the campaign said.

Gubernatorial candidates Rory Reid, a Democrat, and Brian Sandoval, a Republican, denounced the ad.

“The ad being aired by Latinos for Reform is simply unacceptable,” Rory Reid said. “To discourage anybody from voting is purely despicable.”

“The television ad imploring Hispanics not to vote should be taken down immediately,” said Sandoval, himself a Hispanic. “It is outrageous and has no place in Nevada.”

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