ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, locked in a tight battle for reelection, is framing his race as a stark choice between himself and a candidate he is calling “quite extreme,” with a “long list of negative hits.”
And Reid, D-Nev., told ABC’s Jonathan Karl that he doesn’t bear responsibility for the economic downturn that’s hit Nevada, noting that his home state experienced a huge boom over much of his time in the Senate, only to start to suffer during the Bush administration.
“You know that I had nothing to do with the massive foreclosures here. You know that I had nothing to do with these unemployment figures,” Reid said in an interview that aired on ABC/Washington Post’s “Top Line” today. “In fact, I've worked hard to change them. My job is to create jobs. My opponent says that is not her job to create jobs. And I think that is really wrong. I think it is my job to create jobs and I've done my best. Is there more that needs to take place? Of course, there is.”
Reid said his efforts helped Nevada grow over the past two decades.
“Nevada for 20 years led the nation as the best economy of all 50 states,” he said. “If you wanted a good job, come to Nevada. If you wanted to invest in small business, come to Nevada. How about investing in real estate? Come to Nevada.
“For 20 years this was the place to come. When the situation occurred on Wall Street -- the collapse took place -- we were so high, we had so far to fall. And we're struggling to get back where we were. We have, as you know, the president has created, with Congress, three and a half million jobs. We have, because of what took place in the Bush years, lost eight million. So we have a long ways to go. But I think it would take a real stretch to think that I caused the problems with the economy.”
As for his opponent, Republican candidate Sharron Angle, “certainly there's no dispute about the contrast,” Reid said.
“She's somebody who's against the Department of Energy, Department of Education. Wants to phase out Social Security, Medicare, privatize Veterans’ Administration,” he said. “She's got a long list of negative hits.”
“I honestly have not found anyone that thought she was an established legislator,” Reid added. “In fact, just the opposite. So you don't need to hear this from [me]. There's a real contrast between Sharron Angle and Harry Reid.”
The campaign will draw out those contrasts, despite polling that has shown him to be among the most endangered Democrats in the Senate, Reid said.
“If you have a baseball game and you decide you want to substitute, you better make sure that substitute is better than the guy you're taking out,” Reid said. “And so I would think people are going to look at that in Nevada. Sharron Angle has a history of voting ‘no’ on everything, and that's easy to do. And she hasn't added one positive thing to this debate. I mean she keeps coming up with new things. … She is quite extreme, and I don't think that is very hard to do.”
Reid also attacked Angle’s contention that there are “domestic enemies” in the Congress.
“There isn't a Democrat or a Republican that I know of -- and I know them all very well -- that is an enemy of our republic,” Reid said. “And I'm sure if Mitch McConnell were here he'd say the same thing. We work hard to try to do the right thing for our caucuses. But we never, never -- other than statements on the floor when we're really in the trenches, … we know this is important -- we never suggest anyone is doing anything for other than patriotic reasons. They believe that. And for her to say that and then to compound it by saying having Second Amendment remedies, as even makes it even worse.”
Asked if he’s sure he’s going to win, Reid responded: “I'm not a person who boasts or brags. I have had the best campaign in the state of Nevada. I have the best campaign in the country. It's going now. We've had a lot of work to do and we've done that. So I feel very comfortable where we are.”
Watch more on Jonathan Karl’s reporting from Nevada tonight on ABC’s “World News.”
And tomorrow on “Top Line,” we’ll feature an extended portion of Reid’s interview with Sharron Angle. Watch that live at noon ET at ABCNews.com .
In the meantime, you can see a taste of Angle’s interview, where she stands by her contention that there are “domestic enemies” in Congress, HERE .
Also on today’s “Top Line,” our “Post Politics” guest was Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post. We dissected the new ABC/Post poll , plus the growing convention wisdom that Republicans are likely to take over control of the House, and possibly the Senate.