Last month, Nevada senatorial candidate Sharron Angle (R) released an ad that portrayed opponent Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) as being the “best friend an illegal alien ever had.” This month, Angle’s latest racially-tinged ad goes after Reid and his support of undocumented students. The ad includes offensive footage of menacing men with flashlights walking along a fence that was featured in her first ad in addition to a new image featuring three scowling Latino men as the narrator proclaims, “and now Harry Reid is fighting for a program that would give preferred college tuition rates to none other than illegal aliens.” Watch it:
Reid’s campaign released a fact check and a statement on the ad saying, “despicably, Angle’s new ad ramps up her use of incendiary imagery to appeal to Nevadans’ worst fears, while using the exact same thoroughly-debunked lies from her first two ads — lies that independent analysts and fact-checkers have called out as false.” However, Angle isn’t the only Republican lawmaker to invoke negative anti-Latino stereotypes. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) used the same exact photo in one of his own attack ads:
The Wonk Room puts Angle’s allegations in context and outlines her troubling pattern of racially-tinged ads.
Last week, I reported that Sharron Angle’s (R) own spokesperson slammed the Nevada senatorial candidate’s vicious immigration ad which fallaciously portrayed opponent Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) as being the “best friend an illegal alien ever had.” The racial overtones of the ad were so offensive that chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Hispanic Caucus and Angle spokesperson, Tibi Ellis, stated “I condemned this type of propaganda, no matter who is running them, where they blame Mexicans as the only problem and where they attack them as the only source of illegal immigration.”
Ellis may have an even bigger problem with Angle’s latest racially-tinged ad which goes after Reid and his support of undocumented students. The ad includes the offensive footage of menacing men with flashlights walking along a fence that was featured in her first ad. However, it also adds new images of scowling Latino men as the narrator proclaims, “and now Harry Reid is fighting for a program that would give preferred college tuition rates to none other than illegal aliens.” The image is juxtaposed against a photo of white college graduates in their graduation robes. At the end, the narrator asks, “What does Harry Reid have against you?”
The ad appears to be vaguely referencing the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act which Reid attached to the defense reauthorization bill last month as an amendment. The DREAM Act wouldn’t give undocumented students special tuition rates, but it would eliminate a federal provision that penalizes states that provide in-state tuition without regard to immigration status. Angle’s ad doesn’t mention that it would also allow certain undocumented immigrant youth who were brought to the U.S. by their parents at a young age to eventually obtain legal permanent status by enlisting in the military or attending a university. A June 2010 national poll of 1,008 adults revealed that 70 percent of voters support the DREAM Act, across party lines.
Reid’s campaign released a fact check and a statement on the ad saying, “despicably, Angle’s new ad ramps up her use of incendiary imagery to appeal to Nevadans’ worst fears, while using the exact same thoroughly-debunked lies from her first two ads – lies that independent analysts and fact-checkers have called out as false.”
Angle isn’t the only Republican candidate to employ offensive images that reinforce negative anti-Latino stereotypes. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) used the same exact photo in one of his own attack ads:
Meanwhile, the DREAMers, as they call themselves, look a lot more like the innocent graduates in Angle’s ad than the intimidating “illegal aliens”:
As I pointed out last week, Angle is simultaneously airing offensive ads while reportedly “courting endorsements from Hispanic leaders and has plans to air Spanish-language ads.”
Throughout her campaign for U.S. Senate in Nevada, GOP candidate and tea party favorite Sharron Angle has railed against government intervention in health care and has campaigned on the claim that coverage mandates only drive up health care costs. “Take off the mandates for coverage in the state of Nevada and all over the United States,” she said during a rally last year. “You know what I’m talking about. You’re paying for things that you don’t even need. They just passed the latest one, is everything that they want to throw at us now is covered under ‘autism’.”
“If you go to my website, you’ll see my record,” Angle said at a Republican primary debate. “I introduced three bills. One would have taken off all of the mandates on insurance. That’s one of the solutions. We have to have a senator who will go and introduce something like that that says we don’t have mandated coverages on insurance.”
But now, an exhaustive search of Angle’s record in the State legislator by the Las Vegas Sun has found that not only has Angle not introduced “legislation to repeal any of the 38 state mandates requiring insurers to cover” certain conditions, but she has actually co-sponsored bills expanding coverage mandates and increases access to insurance:
Yet during her time in the Legislature, Angle proposed no fewer than five laws that would have expanded state insurance mandates,….She co-sponsored a bill to require insurance companies to cover mammograms and another bill, which she later voted against, to cover osteoporosis treatment. She co-sponsored legislation that would have required an insurance company to continue covering the treatment of a patient if the company’s contract with the provider was canceled before the treatment was completed.
She was primary sponsor of legislation that would have required insurance companies to cover not only the adult children of policyholders, but their parents too if their incomes were below the federal poverty line. [...]
Yet Angle’s 2001 effort to provide health insurance to low-income people would have gone a step further than the Democrats’ new health care law by requiring the coverage of adult children up to age 30. That bill, which also would have allowed chambers of commerce to provide health insurance, never received a hearing.
In 2003, she co-sponsored a bill that would have prohibited insurance companies from refusing to pay for treatment they authorized, also a key part of the Democrats’ health care legislation.
Of course this isn’t the first time Angle’s rhetoric parted so drastically from her record. As Politico reported last month, Angle recently admitted that “both she and her husband benefit from government subsidized health care.” Angle’s husband’s insurance plan (the Federal Employee Health Program), which also covers Sharron, “is a continuation of what he was receiving while he worked for the federal government,” a campaign spokesperson admitted.
Angle’s record, however, also seems to suggest that despite her most recent public comments, she once believed the government should set basic standards for insurance coverage to ensure that individuals receive adequate coverage when they need it most.
By Andrea Nill Sanchez on Sep 29, 2010 at 10:00 am
Earlier this month, Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R-NV) released a vicious ad slamming opponent Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) as being the “best friend an illegal alien ever had.” “Illegals sneaking across our border, putting Americans’ safety and jobs at risk,” the ad narrator proclaims as images of menacing men with flashlights walking along a fence appear on the screen alongside a snapshot of an innocent looking white family.
The tone of the ad is so offensive that even the chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Hispanic Caucus and Angle spokesperson, Tibi Ellis, criticized it on Spanish language radio. The Las Vegas Sun reports:
Tibi Ellis on Monday told 1060 AM Spanish radio host Edwin Saldarriaga that she doesn’t agree with Angle’s depiction of illegal immigrants in a campaign ad released earlier this month.
“I condemned this type of propaganda, no matter who is running them, where they blame Mexicans as the only problem and where they attack them as the only source of illegal immigration,” Ellis told Saldarriaga. “I don’t agree with that.”
Ellis stressed to Saldarriaga that she was not representing Angle during the interview. Ellis, however, has served as a spokeswoman for Angle, according to an interview she gave to Texas GOP Vote, in which she recounted a campaign trip she took with Angle to Denton, Texas.
Watch the ad:
Politifact found the claims made in Angle’s ad are also blatantly false. Besides claiming that Reid and “illegal aliens” are BFF, the ad accuses Reid of giving undocumented immigrants tax breaks as the rest of Nevadans languish in the deep recession. However, according to Politifact, “Most of the Angle camp’s cited votes were actually aimed at people in the U.S. legally (even though they may formerly have been illegal), and in at least two cases, we disagree that what was being voted on represented a ‘special tax break’ at all.”
A Reid spokesperson remarked, “Sharron Angle’s extreme hostility toward Hispanic Nevadans is so blatant and so striking that not even her own campaign surrogates can avoid denouncing her shameless efforts to play on voters’ worst fears with her thoroughly-debunked lies about immigration.”
Angle’s campaign, however, has not “conceded” the Latino vote. Angle is reportedly “courting endorsements from Hispanic leaders and has plans to air Spanish-language ads.” Some Latinos still remain skeptical. “For me, she is scary,” Esperanza Montelongo, a Reid supporter who hosts a Spanish-language political radio show in Las Vegas, told the Associated Press. “She is anti-anything Latino.”
Throughout her campaign for U.S. Senate in Nevada, GOP candidate and tea party favorite Sharron Angle has railed against government intervention in just about everything. Angle said she wants to “personalize” Social Security, and she even went so far as to suggest the possibility of an armed insurrection against the U.S. government to protect “against a tyrannical government.” Part of Angle’s anti-government philosophy has also included health care. She wants to repeal the new health care law and recently attacked mandating coverage for autism and maternity leave. She even suggested that Medicare and VA coverage work “towards a privatized system.” But Politico notes today that Angle this week admitted that both she and her husband benefit from government subsidized health care:
Angle’s campaign acknowledged to Nevada journalist Jon Ralston Monday that both the candidate and her husband receive health care from the federal government. Spokeswoman Ciara Matthews said in a statement: “Mr. Ted Angle receives his pension through the (federal) Civil Service Retirement System. While it is not supplemented by the federal government, current civil servants pay into the program to pay the schedule of those already retired – much like how the Social Security Program works today. Mr. Angle does not qualify – nor does he receive Social Security benefits. His health insurance plan (the Federal Employee Health Program), which also covers Sharron, is a continuation of what he was receiving while he worked for the federal government.”
Last week, Tea Party doyenne Sarah Palin counseled her newest protégé, Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell, to “speak through Fox News.” While O’Donnell is quickly heedingthe lesson, Tea Party maven Sharron Angle is a veteran practitioner. Skittish around reporters at her own press conferences, Angle often runs to Fox News, the “safe haven” of conservative candidates in need of “softball questions or nationwide fundraising appeals.”
Angle told Fox News as much when she instructed anchor Carl Cameron on his role as a PR agent. “We needed to have the press be our friends,” she said, because “when I get on a show, and I say, ‘send money to SharronAngle.Com,’ so that your listeners” will know where to go “if they want to support me.” While Cameron laughed, audio obtained by Las Vegas Sun’s Jon Ralston of Angle at a house party this month prove “she wasn’t kidding.” According to Angle, Fox News pundits and “friendly press” — like hate radio host Rush Limbaugh — help her rake in the campaign cash:
Here’s some audio of Angle at a house party this month, bragging about how profitable FOX can be:
Guest: Sharron, how are you doing as far as the fundraising?
Sharron Angle: It’s going really well. If you’re interested in just the Internet part of that — and of course I’ve been criticized for saying that I like to be friends with the [press] — but here’s the deal: when I get a friendly press outlet — not so much the guy that’s interviewing me — it’s their audience that I’m trying to reach. So, if I can get on Rush Limbaugh, and I can say, “Harry Reid needs $25 million. I need a million people to send twenty five dollars to SharronAngle.com.” The day I was able to say that [even], he made $236,000 dollars. That’s why it’s so important. Somebody…I’m going on Bill O’Reilly the 16th. They say, “Bill O’Reilly, you better watch out for that guy, he’s not necessarily a friendly”…Doesn’t matter, his audience is friendly, and if I can get an opportunity to say that at least once on his show — when I said it on Sean Hannity’s television show we made $40,000 before we even got out of the studio in New York. It was just [great]. So that’s what I’m really reaching out to is that audience that’s had it with Harry, and you can watch that happen when I go on those shows. Go on my website, it starts coming in. We have an automatic…when you put your name in there and it doesn’t tell how much you gave, but it tells your name and where you’re from. And so you can just watch it; it just rolls like this. In fact, with Rush Limbaugh we put it all down. We couldn’t take the ticker going fast enough. And we’ve pulled in over [3,000,000] dollars just from that kind of a message going out.
The fact that Fox News permits fundraising appeals on air isn’t just a bonus for Angle, it appears to be her primary criteria. In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, correspondent David Brody noted that Angle’s preference for “more conservative outlets” over “Meet the Press” or “This Week” conveys that she is “avoiding those mainstream media outlets.” To which Angle replied, “Well, in that audience, will they let me say I need $25 dollars from a million people go to SharronAngle.com send money?”
Angle’s preference for friendly outlets (and friendly audiences) has irked local news affiliates because she has “steadfastly refused to talk to reporters” in Nevada. Her refusal of “an interview request — or 10 requests, or 20″ has local news stations taking the “unprecedented step” of “publicly call[ing] on Ms. Angle to explain her positions to Nevada voters.” But if voters and the press are “tired of playing” the game “Where’s Sharron Angle,” they now know where to look.
Appearing on the local political talk show “Face to Face” in June, Nevada GOP Senate nominee Sharron Angle challenged Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) to a debate, saying “What I would like to see is Harry Reid come into this studio and have a true debate, and on the issues.” Angle’s Deputy Campaign Manager agreed to a debate in August, and both campaigns signed off on an October 21st date for the debate.
However, last week, less than a half hour after host Jon Ralston announced the debate, Angle’s spokesman called Ralston to say that Angle would not be participating in the debate because it was after early voting started. Angle’s campaign then quickly put out a press release referring to a different event headlined, “Angle Campaign Agrees To 2nd Debate On September 23.” It was “an obvious attempt to deflect attention from her campaign’s disavowal of the candidate’s public challenge to Reid,” Ralston noted. The campaign eventually apologized for giving Ralston “the wrong signal,” but refused to reschedule, saying simply, “no debate.”
In a recent interview with local conservative talk radio host Alan Stock (who attempted to defend Angle by calling the “Face to Face” debate a “ploy”), Angle gave a bizarre explanation for canceling the debate that she herself had requested, saying “we wanted an informed electorate:”
STOCK: Well, Jon Ralston has suggested that he invited you to debate. You accepted, then you reneged on it, because you didn’t want to answer questions and stuff like that. How do you respond to that?
ANGLE: We’ve always been very clear that we didn’t want to debate after early voting started because we wanted an informed electorate. And we’ve held to that premise from the very beginning. That’s why the Nevada Broadcasters Association is having theirs on the 14th of October. And that’s why Harry Reid agreed to have it on the 14th is because we said we wanted an informed people voting.
STOCK: So, you haven’t backed out? … All right. The other one was a ploy to confuse you about dates and everything else.
ANGLE: Well, I think that, um, when you start trying to go around people in the campaign, you sometimes get confusing answers. … We said that that was our only…the only thing really required was that it not be held after early voting started.
While the October 21st debate would come five days after early voting started, Ralston noted that “approximately 80 percent of the electorate will not have voted” by then. Moreover, Angle refused to reschedule the debate for before early voting started. Meanwhile, the second “debate” Angle agreed to could hardly be described as such, considering that Reid won’t even be in the room and all his questions and answers will be pre-recorded. The press release announcing the “debate” also said the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce was a sponsor, but a spokeswoman said the chamber “had nothing to do with it.” The release was “much more than misleading,” Ralston concluded.
Angle has spent much of her campaign hiding from the press, and this is not first time she has canceled a public event that she herself has called for. In July, she called a press conference, only to flee three minutes into it, forcing reporters, including one who was six months pregnant, to run after her.
Angle made a similar request to debate Reid on Fox & Friends, saying to the camera, “Harry Reid, will you come on Fox and Friends and debate with me?” No word on whether Fox has tried to hold her to that.
In at least two separateradio interviews during her campaign for Nevada U.S. Senate, Republican Sharron Angle appeared to suggest the possibility of an armed insurrection against the U.S. government. Saying that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment “was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government,” Angle added, “if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies.”
While her campaign repeatedlydodged reporters’ questions pressing Angle to clarify her remarks, ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked Angle in an interview that aired on Top Line today what she meant. Angle at first tried to distance herself from her statement. “I don’t think that is exactly the way I said it,” she said. But later in the interview, Angle didn’t rule out the possibility of a violent revolution:
KARL: And of course Jefferson said the tree of liberty needs to be fed with the blood of tyrants and patriots from time to time but can you foresee us getting in a situation where there is such anger in this country that we’re in a revolutionary situation?
ANGLE: well I think at the conclusion of that discussion I said I hope not.
KARL: But do you think it’s possible?
ANGLE: Well of course anything is possible I suppose.
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent spoke with one of the radio hosts that Angle informed of her views on “Second Amendment remedies.” “The talk show host she spoke to tells me he doesn’t have any doubt that she was floating the possibility of armed insurrection as a valid response if Congress continues along its current course,” Sargent wrote when he first reported on Angle’s remarks in June.
Also during her interview with Karl, Angle denied that she said entitlement programs “violate the First Commandment.” “I don’t think that’s what I said,” Angle replied (it is what she said). “That was a discussion I was having with CBN. We were talking in very Christian terms, that’s what the Christian Broadcasting Network is so you speak the language of the folks you’re communicating with,” she said.
Among the many radical statements that Nevada GOP Senate nominee Sharron Angle has made, two that stand out are her agreement that there are “domestic enemies” in Congress, and her seeming endorsement of armed insurrection, saying “Second Amendment remedies” may be necessary if “Congress keeps going the way it is.”
As ThinkProgress has noted, Angle has refused to distance herself from either of these claims. In an interview with a Nevada radio host last month, Angle twice refused to directly respond to her “enemies” claim, saying only that Democratic policies have “definitely hurt our country.” When confronted with the “Second Amendment remedies” statement in June, Angle refused to comment, and her spokesperson eventually blocked the reporter posing the question from asking any more questions, calling him “‘an idiot’ and another term that can’t be repeated.”
In two recent interviews, Angle yet again refused to disavow her dangerous comments. In an interview with ABC, Angle even seemed to double down on the “enemies” claim, saying lawmakers who passed legislation she does not support are “certainly not friends”:
ABC News: Do we have enemies of the country inside the walls of Congress?
ANGLE: Certainly people who pass these kinds of policies — Obamacare, cap and trade, stimulus, bailout — they’re certainly not friends to the free market system.
ABC News: So, what are they?
ANGLE: They’re not friends.
Watch it (beginning 2:16):
In an interview with CNN, when asked about the “enemies” comment, Angle wouldn’t back away from it, and even refused to say whether or not President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) are “enemies of the state.” She also refused to clarify or back down from her “Second Amendment remedies” statement, saying only that her comment was “spoken in a context”:
REPORTER: Do you feel that the President or Harry Reid are enemies of the state?
ANGLE: I don’t think anybody mentioned any names during that conversation and of course those weren’t my words. [...]
REPORTER: And what about that statement where you said a Second Amendment response may be necessary if things keep going the way they’re going. And you said we may have to take Harry Reid out. What was all that about?
ANGLE: Well, once again, as we said, those things were spoken in a context. … But those are not the issues people are really concerned about. They’re concerned about our homes, our economy, our jobs. That’s what people are concerned about. He’s wanting to take out little pieces of segments of conversations that were about general discussions. We were talking generally about the Founding Fathers and their intent with the Second Amendment.
Watch it (beginning 2:22):
Angle repeatedly complained that her comments were taken out of context, but when given a clear opportunity to correct the record, she declined. If Angle is trying to “represent mainstream America,” as she said in the CNN interview, then why does she refuse to state clearly that she doesn’t support armed insurrection?
Angle’s extremism has even alienated her own supporters, with a Las Vegas Review-Journal/8NewsNow poll showing that “2 in 3 self-identified supporters” of Angle wish “another Republican was on top of the ticket instead.” In June, Reno Mayor Bob Cashell, a Republican from Angle’s hometown, called the Senate nominee “an ultra right winger,” adding, “I can’t support her.”
Yesterday, I drafted a post on ThinkProgress claiming that Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle and other Nevada lawmakers were “on the verge of shutting down all public education in the state of Nevada” before the state supreme court prevented this from happening. Nevada journalist Jon Ralston responded with a seriesof critical tweets:
Ralston is a good journalist, so he deserves a more fleshed out response to his objections that I provided in my threetweetsresponding to his criticism.
First, the basis for my claim that Angle and fourteen other Nevada lawmakers were prepared to cut off funds to Nevada’s public schools is the conclusion of six of the Nevada Supreme Court’s seven justices. In my original post, I set up this court decision as follows:
In 2003, the Nevada legislature enacted a budget which did not include education funding, on the theory that they would take up a second bill which ensured that the public schools could remain open when the school year began. Because the Nevada Constitution requires both a balanced budget and the state to fund education, this second bill would include a combination of tax increases and education spending.
The two bill strategy broke down, however, when a minority of the state Assembly — led by Sharron Angle — refused to enact any bill which raised the new revenue required to reopen the public schools. Because a two-thirds majority is necessary to enact any tax increases, Angle’s minority was on the verge of shutting down all public education in the state of Nevada.
This impasse broke when the state supreme court determined that the supermajority requirement must give way to the constitution’s two other provisions. In Guinn v. Legislature of the State of Nevada, six of the state supreme court’s seven justices determined that the legislature was “unable to fulfill its constitutional duties to fund the public schools and to adopt a balanced budget because it has not met the two-thirds vote requirement,” and that simply requiring the legislature to continue debating how to fund education would be “futile.”
The justices’ determination that further legislative debate would have been “futile” demonstrates their belief that Angle’s bloc was simply not going to provide the votes necessary to prevent a school shutdown. In other words, to the extent that I fell for “spin” misrepresenting Angle’s intent, six of seven justices were similarly taken in. Nevertheless, if these six justices were in error, than my post compounds that error by trusting their conclusion.
Second, Ralston claims that I gave the impression that Angle wanted to remove the requirement to fund education from Nevada’s constitution. I erred in drafting my original post if I conveyed this impression, and I apologize for that error. My intention was to convey that Angle’s actions would have thwarted this provision of the state constitution — a view bolstered by the decision in Guinn — not that she wanted to amend the constitution itself.
The case which overruled Guinn provided only one, not-terribly-useful sentence of explanation: “The Nevada Constitution should be read as a whole, so as to give effect to and harmonize each provision.” If you accept Guinn‘s determination that the legislature was at an impasse, however, then the Guinn court was in the impossible position of deciding which provision of the state constitution would be violated. Given this dreadful choice, it is easy to defend their decision to prefer two provisions that require very specific substantive results (funded public schools and a balanced budget) over one that merely set out a rule of legislative procedure.
So what do we know about Angle’s conduct in this whole debacle? We know that she passionately supports the same kind of anti-tax amendment that has led states like California into fiscal ruin. We also know that six state supreme court justices believed that she was prepared to let Nevada’s public schools shut down in service of her anti-tax principles. Nevertheless, because these justices did intervene in Nevada’s funding crisis, we can also never know what Angle would have done if the court had remained silent.