Harry Reid this morning called on Sharron Angle to explain herself, and her campaign has now responded.
It all started yesterday with a flurry of press releases starring an utterance by Sharron Angle to a conservative radio talk show host in northern Nevada last fall. Greg Sargent over at The Plum Line posted both audio and transcript. Here’s the clip in question:
MANDERS (HOST): You know, I talk often about this oath that they give and it is to defend the Constitution and all that. But one of the things that is very important to me in this oath that they give is that they will defend against foreign and domestic enemies.
ANGLE: Yes. Yes.
MANDERS: We have domestic enemies. We have home-born homegrown enemies in our system. And I for one think we have some of those enemies in the walls of the Senate and the Congress.
ANGLE: Yes. I think you’re right, Bill.
The Reid campaign was quickly out with a press release that pulled quotes from the interview and tied Angle’s agreement about “domestic enemies” with past statements characterized by Reid spokesperson Kelly Steele as “coded rhetoric about ‘2nd amendment remedies.’” As a follow up, Senator Harry Reid this morning issued the following statement:
Sharron Angle’s rhetoric is irresponsible and over the top. Let me be very clear. While I may have some differences of opinion with my Republican colleagues in the Senate, I have never questioned their patriotism. For Sharron Angle to agree that any of them–Republican or Democrat–is an enemy of the state is not only an insult to every United States Senator, it’s a disgrace to our country. If she is going to use such rhetoric, she has an obligation to name names and explain to the American people exactly who she thinks is a domestic enemy.
Brian Walsh, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, quickly sent out a statement that included a recent example of Reid calling Republicans “Anti-American”:
Apparently among the many of his own statements that Senator Reid is suddenly failing to recall is this one from just a few months ago – “All of this talk from Republicans about wanting to do something about this bill before it gets on the floor is really anti-Senate and anti-American.”
Here is a clip showing the context of Reid’s remarks:
Walsh went on to list more examples of the majority leader’s own improper rhetoric:
The irony is that whether he’s invoking race to win Hispanic votes, suggesting the President’s skin color made him a better candidate, saying tourists visiting Capitol Hill ‘smell,’ or calling the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ‘incompetent,’ few politicians are better known for their inappropriate rhetoric than Harry Reid.
The Angle campaign chimed in shortly thereafter with references to Reid’s past remarks on Iraq, echoing prior demands for an apology from Reid on a new website:
Harry Reid has a long history of questioning patriotism including earlier this year when he called Republicans ‘anti-American’. At a time of war, Harry Reid told our troops ‘this war is lost’ and questioned the honesty of General Petraeus for which Reid still has not apologized.
It is the rhetoric which has come directly from Harry Reid’s mouth that is a disgrace to this country. Harry Reid’s attempt to put words into Sharron’s mouth is a desperate ploy and perfect example of why voters are tired of Reid’s political antics while the state continues to suffer.