ABC News’ Jonathan Karl Reports: Harry Reid may be the most powerful Democrat in the U.S. Senate, but his state has been hit harder by the recession than any other in the country-- and that has created a big opening for Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle.
Meet the new Sharron Angle. Gone are the days of literally running from the mainstream media. Looking more like a candidate who could topple the Majority Leader, she’s feisty, friendlier to the press than before, and wasting no time taking aim at Reid.
“I'm a mainstream American and mainstream Nevada understands that very well that I promote what they believe, which is lower taxes, less government regulation, that the true issues are our economy, our jobs, our homes and that the person who is occupying this U.S. Senate seat lives in Washington, D.C. and is completely out of touch and disconnected from Nevada. He's forgotten what Nevada is all about.”
That’s what Angle told me in a wide ranging interview at a small meet and greet campaign event at a coffee shop in Minden, Nevada. You can watch an extended cut of the interview and read the transcript below.
JON KARL: Harry Reid is a tough, tough opponent. And he's painting you as a real extremist. I mean you can't turn on the television… SHARRON ANGLE: It's the only thing he can do. KARL: So, how would you describe your politics? You know, he wants us to believe you're a right-wing extremist. So how what are Sharron Angle's politics? ANGLE: I'm a mainstream American and mainstream Nevada understands that very well that I promote what they believe, which is lower taxes, less government regulation, that the true issues are our economy, our jobs, our homes and that the person who is occupying this U.S. Senate seat lives in Washington, D.C. and is completely out of touch and disconnected from Nevada. He's forgotten what Nevada is all about. KARL: And how bad are people hurting here? I mean you're out here talking every day. ANGLE: How bad are we hurting? Oh my gosh. 14.3 percent unemployment is the average in Nevada. So understand that many of these communities are up in the 18th percentile of unemployment. We have the highest rate of mortgage foreclosures in the nation. We are completely upside down in the values of our homes right now. KARL: Now we asked Harry Reid about that and he said that that is not his responsibility. That to blame him for this economic crisis is just wrong and not fair. That he has been trying, he's been working on getting things to help for Nevada, but that this is the George Bush economy. These are factors, you know, beyond one Senator's control. ANGLE: Well, understand that Harry Reid was Senate majority leader in the Bush years. So, these policies that have been coming forward, for him to say that he hasn't been responsible -- he's been responsible through several administrations. He's been there. He's been voting on these policies that have really become the problem. KARL: Now you've been hammered over countless things. I just want to ask you about a couple of them. One is the comment that you made about entitlement programs violating the First Commandment. Can you elaborate a little bit on what you meant about that? ANGLE: (laughs) I don't think that's what I said. KARL: You said they turn government into our God. ANGLE: I said that--No I didn't say that. Actually, that was a discussion I was having with CBN. We were talking in very Christian terms. That's what Christian broadcast is -- that's their focus -- so you speak the language of the folks that you're communicating with. And I was speaking in their language. And the language that I used was that in our country we have become a country that has put our faith, not "in God we trust," which is on our money, as you know, not "in God we trust," but in government we trust. And that is what I was referring to, that we have allowed government in many ways to take the place of God. KARL: OK so a couple of other things that will get brought up. When you said that if things don't turn out the right way in this election people may get second amendment remedies. What did you mean by that? What are second… ANGLE: I don't think that was exactly the way I said it. KARL: Well you tell me. Forget how I said it. ANGLE: We were discussing, once again, in a context of the Second Amendment. We were having a discussion about the Founding Fathers and why they had put the Second Amendment into the Bill of Rights. And they felt that there were times when governments became tyrannical. That we needed to have a place for the people to be able to secure the blessings of liberty, which is what they did in the Revolutionary War, as you know. And that was why they put the Second Amendment into the Constitution. And that was what we were speaking of on that that program was whole Second Amendment and why it was there. KARL: And of course, Jefferson said the tree of liberty needs to be fed with the blood of tyrants from time to time. But do you really can you foresee us getting into a situation where there is such anger in this country that we're in a revolutionary situation again? ANGLE: Well I think at the conclusion of that discussion, I said I hope not. KARL: But but you think it's possible? I mean hoping... ANGLE: Well, of course, anything is possible, I suppose. KARL: Then finally, the one where the radio host was talking about how there are domestic enemies in Congress and you said, "I agree." ANGLE: Again. in context. KARL: In context. That's why I'm asking, I want the context. ANGLE: In context, we were talking about the policies of the government that have really caused problems for us in the past 18 months. We have seen policies come down that have really become the enemy of the people. KARL: Do we have enemies of the country in the halls of Congress? ANGLE: Certainly people who pass these kinds of policies -- Obamacare, cap and trade, stimulus, bailout -- they're certainly not friends to the free market system. KARL: So, so what are they? ANGLE: (laughs) They're not friends. KARL: If you beat Harry Reid, you come to Congress -- what's that going to be like? What is Sharron Angle in the United States Senate going to be like? How're you going to fit in? ANGLE: Oh, I think that I'll fit in just fine. You know, there are folks there that already think like I do: Jim DeMint, Tom Colburn, Mike Pence, Michele Bachmann. There are also people who are running in this cycle who think like I do. I am not going to be the only who thinks that the answer to the problems are less government regulation and lower taxation. KARL: You're not going to change your views. You're not going to become a Washington insider. ANGLE: You know, that's the beauty of a record. You can see who I am and all you have to do is go to the legislature here in the state and you can see that my record has been very strongly lower taxes, less government regulation. I’m Very Constitutionally minded and so I in the primary even I said don't just believe what I say, go look at the record. You can trust the record. KARL: Alright Sharron Angle. Thank you very much for spending time with us.