Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010 | 1:39 p.m.
Republican former First Lady Dawn Gibbons said today that she supports Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid because of his diligence and hard work, not because she wants to spite her Republican ex-husband, Gov. Jim Gibbons, who she said cheated on her and who has been a frequent Reid critic.
"I've known Harry Reid for a long time," Dawn Gibbons said today during an endorsement event at UNLV. "He's a strong advocate and a strong voice -- someone we need in these trying times."
Gibbons also noted that Reid is a good husband to his wife Landra and calls his kids daily.
But Gibbons, a former state assemblywoman, refused to say whether she had ever before voted for Reid -- a likely indication that she hadn't. First, she said it was nobody's business. Then, she said she couldn't remember. Finally, she said she forgot whom Reid ran against.
Gibbons also wouldn't say whom she will support in the upcoming gubernatorial and congressional races.
"This is not about that," she said. "This is about Harry Reid."
Taking a page right out of Reid's playbook, Gibbons criticized Reid's Republican opponent Sharron Angle, accusing her of having an "extreme and dangerous" policy on education.
During the 15-minute event, Gibbons said the words "extreme and dangerous" four times. Students who have benefited from government grants and scholarships and spoke with Gibbons to lend their support to Reid repeated the phrase another four times.
It's the exact description Reid has tried to peg Angle with in dozens of commercials, statements and news releases.
Gibbons ran against Angle in 2006 in a three-way congressional primary. Both women lost.
Still, Gibbons wouldn't go as far as to say that Angle is unfit to serve in the Senate. Gibbons called her a friend, but then in the next breath denounced her as "uncompassionate."
Angle spokesman Jerry Stacy denied that Angle's positions are extreme.
Gibbons, who first said last year that she would support Reid, insisted her endorsement has nothing to do with her estranged relationship with her ex-husband, Nevada's Republican governor.
The Gibbons' divorce was finalized in July after a contentious two years during which Dawn Gibbons accused her husband of multiple affairs and Jim Gibbons called his wife a "an enraged ferret in a phone booth."
Jim Gibbons has accused Reid of "cooking the books," sponsoring irresponsible legislation and putting his national political ambitions ahead of Nevada.