Politics & Policy

Harry Reid Tells NYT He is ‘Not Discounting’ Sharron Angle

It is odd that the best take-away from Sharron Angle’s interview with the New York Times may be a Harry Reid remark near the end of the piece.

First, here are some other snippets from yesterday’s online story which also appeared on page A-1 of today’s print version, starting with the predictable sum-up of a few of her slips and struggles so far:

Since Ms. Angle won, her campaign has been rocked by a series of politically intemperate remarks and awkward efforts to retreat from hard-line positions she has embraced in the past, like phasing out Social Security. There have also been a staff shake-up and run-ins with Nevada journalists, including one in which a television reporter chased her through a parking lot trying to get her to answer a question.

Republicans in this state are concerned that what had once seemed a relatively easy victory is suddenly in doubt, with signs that Ms. Angle’s campaign is scrambling to regroup.

Then there’s the frank assessment of the situation by a former opponent and current supporter in the Nevada GOP:

“Reid had no chance to win before,” said Danny Tarkanian, one of the Republicans who lost to Ms. Angle. “He has a shot to win now. He could still lose, but I have to say he is favored.”

Then, a nod to the Tea Party movement:

Ms. Angle’s primary victory was a testimony to the power of the Tea Party. And if she wins in November, it will have huge national implications: a Tea Party candidate will have taken down the most powerful member of the Senate and a close ally and friend of President Obama.

And Team Reid tips their hand on some focus group research and explains their advertising approach:

“Our focus groups that we’ve done, my staff tells me this — her statements, they can’t believe that anyone would say that,” Mr. Reid said. “That’s why most of our TV just has her talking.”

The NYT reporter notes Angle’s recent change-up in strategy:

In recent days, there have been a number of events that suggest Ms. Angle is trying to change the way she is doing things. The interview itself was a break from past practice, and after that, she took a few questions from reporters at a brief news conference. […] Her recent advertisements have been sharper and more focused, including one accusing Mr. Reid of wanting to raid the Social Security Trust Fund.

Finally, here’s Reid’s admission that he is not counting Angle out and that more needs to be done in order to convince Nevada voters she is not good majority-leader replacement material:

“I’m not discounting her,” Mr. Reid said. “In the spite of the work we’ve done, people need to understand more about her. There are some unusual stands she has.”

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