The weekly policy lunches in the Senate could get a little awkward Tuesday, when the woman who hopes to unseat Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) dines just steps from the embattled leader a day after his supporters in Nevada issued a snarky statement about the lunch.
A campaign spokesman for Sharron Angle — a conservative with tea party backing — confirmed Monday that she will attend the GOP’s regular Tuesday policy lunch as part of a series of meetings with GOP leaders in Washington. Those meetings include one with National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas).
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Monday that Angle will be introduced to GOP Senators by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.). Reid’s backers wasted little time in taking a jab at both Angle and Ensign, who was a rising star in the party until an affair with an aide led him to resign his leadership post. Ensign’s alleged attempts to get the aide’s husband — also a former aide — a lobbying job has led to a Justice Department investigation.
In a release billed as Ensign’s “talking points” for Angle’s introduction, the Nevada Democratic Party took its best shot by scripting a fake speech for Ensign.
“First of all, Sharron, thank you for backing off what I call the wife thing’ and enlisting my support for your campaign,” the release lampoons. “Last November, while other Republican candidates were being kind of squishy, she nailed me between the eyes with the zinger: If your wife can’t trust you, how can I trust you?’ I’m glad she’s come around and is now welcoming my support.”
It continues, “And with that my fellow Republicans, I’d like to introduce to you a person that I hope will be Nevada’s next US Senator, who I’m sure will be able to deliver consistently for Nevadans — even though she’ll have even less seniority and clout than me.”
The release also goes after Angle for supporting the privatization of Social Security and Medicare, for pushing a controversial prison program that included massages for inmates, and for being a member of the Oath Keepers, which some civil liberties groups have said is part of the conservative militia movement.
Though Angle initially rejected Ensign’s campaign help, she has said recently that she might be receptive to it. Ensign has said he “wants to help and not hurt” Angle, including staying silent if that is what she prefers, the Review-Journal reported.
Angle has attacked Reid for being an entrenched Washington politician who favors government intrusion into people’s lives, and she has sought to capitalize on his poor favorability ratings back home.
Recent polls have shown Angle beating Reid in November, but a Mason-Dixon poll showed Reid narrowly edging her out. Reid was rumored to have wanted a matchup with Angle because of what Democrats believe are her ultra-conservative views.