Published Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010 | 1:41 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010 | 2:26 p.m.
A Las Vegas city councilwoman, a comedian, a lawyer, a restaurant owner, a Realtor and an executive, along with a handful of other Nevada women, gathered today at a downtown café to send U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle a message: Don't tell us how to live our lives.
The women, all working mothers, came together to pledge their support for Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and to speak out against his Republican challenger, who has said that one parent should stay home with children because that is the "acceptable" and "right" thing to do.
Comedian Rita Rudner called Angle's remarks "disturbing" and argued that a woman fulfilled by her job is a better mother.
City Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian said she was personally offended by Angle's comments. Tarkanian, a Democrat, is the mother of Republican Danny Tarkanian, who ran unsuccessfully in the GOP primary to try to unseat Reid.
Lois Tarkanian, who endorsed Reid on Thursday, said she worked both because she had to -- young basketball coaches don't make a lot of money, she said -- and because she wanted to.
"I was not a better mother when I stayed home full time," Tarkanian said.
Speaker after speaker said many women don't have the luxury of choosing whether to work -- especially in this difficult economy. And women are an integral part of the workforce, they said.
Gina Robison-Billups, president of the National Association for Moms in Business, rattled off a series of numbers showing women's influence on the economy, and on their families. Two million wives support their unemployed husbands who are looking for work, she said. Four out of 10 women are the primary breadwinners for their households. Women-owned businesses have created 23 million jobs in the United States -- 16 percent of all jobs nationally.
"Her comments are reckless," Robison-Billups said. "It's shocking how someone running for U.S. Senate can be so ignorant of how the economy works."
An Angle campaign spokeswoman declined to comment but forwarded a statement from Danny Tarkanian responding to his mother's comments about women's right to work.
"I fully support my mother's position in this regard and am sure that Senate candidate Sharon (sic) Angle does as well," Tarkanian wrote in the prepared statement.
As for his mother's endorsement of Reid, "I disagree with her position," Tarkanian wrote. "I support Sharon (sic) Angle for the United States Senate and believe it is vital to our state and country's interest that she is elected."