Reid, Angle trade jabs in debate

by Kelly MacNeil on October 15, 2010

Amid high unemployment and foreclosure rates in Nevada, a highly anticipated debate last night between Republican Sharron Angle and incumbent Democrat Harry Reid showcased a polarized public whose candidates face an extremely tight race.

The two Senate hopefuls, who have so far successfully managed to maintain a low-key profile, failed to agree on a single issue during the debate which covered taxation, healthcare and Nevada’s economy.

During one of the more contentious moments of the debate, Angle claimed U.S. Senate Majority Leader Reid had voted to raise taxes 300 times. Reid responded that he and Democrats voted to cut taxes for 95 percent of all Nevadans and to reduce burden on small businesses eight times, according to the Reno-Gazette Journal.

Later in the debate, Angle bluntly told Reid to “man up” and labeled him a career politician. She asked Reid how he got so rich. “You came from Searchlight to the Senate with very little, now, you are one of the richest men in the Senate. On behalf of the Nevada taxpayers, I’d like to know how did you become so wealthy on a government payroll?”

Reid, seemingly taken aback by the question, said he was a successful lawyer who had made investments over the years. He called Angle “extreme” and pointed out she could not think of a single mandate for the government to place on healthcare insurance companies.

Angle, a former assemblywoman from Reno, is backed by the conservative Republican Tea Party and is surprising some Democrats with her campaign’s success in raising funds. She has advocated phasing out Social Security, Medicare and the Department of Education.

The debate received national media attention and attendees included people from outside of Nevada who had come to support their candidates, according to ABC Las Vegas.

Analysts on either side agreed afterwards that neither candidate had managed to swing voters their way, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

In their latest poll, Rasmussean Reports revealed Angle earning 50 percent of voters approval and 46 percent for Reid. Unemployment rate in Nevada exceeds 14 percent and the state is home to one of the highest home foreclosures rates in the nation, according to NPR.com.

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