Harry Reid is target in GOP Senate forum
AP Political Writer
LAS VEGAS – Five Repub-licans who want Senate Majority Leader Harry’s Reid’s job broadly faulted his leadership in a forum Tuesday while touting their conservative credentials on offshore oil drilling, the future of Social Security and runaway government spending.
There was far more agreement than friction in the taped, hour-long matchup, especially when questions centered on Reid and his part in pushing the Obama administration’s agenda in Congress. Former legislator Sharron Angle called Reid “a disaster.” Businessman Danny Tarkanian said Reid is “bad for America, and that makes him bad for Nevada.”
Despite the criticism of the Democratic leader, only one GOP candidate, John Chachas, singled out a Reid project he would want to give back from a long list – a shooting range in Las Vegas. In arguing for a fifth term, the Democratic leader talks about hundreds of millions of dollars he has secured in Congress for his home state.
Chachas said federal spending needed to be cut across the board, including temporarily freezing the level of Social Security payments. When it comes to spending discipline “no one’s been able to do it,” Chachas said.
The appearance on KVBC’s news interview program “Face to Face with Jon Ralston” gave the candidates a televised platform to reach voters just days before the start of early voting on Saturday. The NBC affiliate is airing the forum, which also included candidates Sue Lowden and Chad Christensen, in two segments on Tuesday and today.
The candidates agreed on the need for a tough stance on Iran, after the United States on Tuesday won agreement from China, Russia and other major powers on tough new sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. And none expressed support for a congressional proposal to increase the liability cap for oil spill damages from $75 million to
$10 billion, which came after the explosion of an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
Reid plans to raise
$25 million for the race and faces only token opposition in the June 8 primary.
A string of independent voter surveys suggest he is running behind several of the Republicans who could challenge him in November. Incumbents around the country are in danger, and his popularity has fallen with the state’s economy, which has been hit hard by double-digit unemployment and record numbers of foreclosures and bankruptcies.
Lowden, a former state senator, again defended her suggestion of bartering with doctors for medical care – “our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor,” which she said was taken out of context. Reid “wants to talk about chickens” so he doesn’t have to defend Washington’s health care overhaul, she said.