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January 26, 2015

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Sharron Angle offers juice to Tea Party of Nevada opponent

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Scott Ashjian on Monday's 'Face to Face'

Ashjian interview, Part 2

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  • Ashjian interview, Part 1
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Sharron Angle speaks during a Senate candidate forum for Angle and Sen. Harry Reid on Sept. 23 at Faith Lutheran High School.

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Jon Scott Ashjian

That Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle was caught on tape criticizing her own party while meeting last week with Tea Party of Nevada candidate Jon Scott Ashjian should surprise no one.

Reacting to Ashjian’s stated distrust of both major political parties, Angle agreed that many see little difference between Republicans and Democrats, according to a recording obtained by Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston.

“Republicans have lost their standards, they have lost their principles,” Angle said during the meeting in which she tried and failed to win an endorsement from Ashjian, who could siphon valuable votes from her. “In some ways it’s a good thing. It’s nice to get it out in the open that they never really have gone along with less taxes and less government.”

The 38-minute recording was quintessential Angle — she has made a career of challenging the Republican establishment and capitalized on voter anger toward both parties to win the GOP primary in June. Yet it was surprising that later in the conversation, Angle makes an overture to Ashjian that, if elected, she would use her influence for Ashjian’s benefit.

“That’s really all I can offer to you,” she says to Ashjian. “Whatever juice I have, you have as well. You want to see (U.S. Sen. Jim) DeMint, I have juice with DeMint. I go to D.C. and say ‘I want to see Jim DeMint,’ he’s right there for me.”

It was a rare, unscripted moment in a high-profile race — revealing at once Angle’s view of herself as outside the political establishment, and yet willing to traffic in political power in ways she has condemned the establishment and her opponent, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, for.

Allies of Reid pounced, splicing her past criticism of Reid for making “backroom deals” and with audio of Angle and her campaign supporters offering to help Ashjian. Even supporters of Angle criticized her for getting into a room with Ashjian, who told CNN that he had made the secret recording.

Debbie Landis, one of Nevada’s original grass-roots Tea Party organizers, was irate at both Ashjian, whom she despises, and Angle, whom she has endorsed.

“It’s an enormous shame for her to approach him like he is a credible threat when he’s already been spoken out against by every grass-roots leader in the state,” Landis said. “I don’t know what she hoped to accomplish. I’m very distressed at the credibility that lying, duplicitous fraud has right now.”

“That’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” said Dan Burdish, a Republican operative who advised Angle’s primary opponent Sue Lowden. “Why in the world would she go out and meet with somebody who is polling at 1 percent?”

Ashjian’s critics have decried him as an opportunist who has usurped the Tea Party brand for personal gain. They have sought to discredit the first-time candidate and get his name erased from the ballot. (Before he formed the Tea Party of Nevada, longtime Nevada activists involved in the amorphous movement said they had never heard of him.)

Ashjian, who would conceivably pull votes from Angle, benefiting Reid in the tight race, has received 1 percent in most polls.

But Angle’s meeting with Ashjian, and Ashjian’s decision to record and release a tape of the meeting, has suddenly launched him into the national spotlight. National news networks are covering him as a legitimate threat to Angle’s effort to unseat Reid.

Ashjian could not be reached for comment Monday.

The meeting was brokered by Richard Ziser, a conservative activist who lost to Reid in 2004.

According to the tape, Angle asked Ashjian to endorse her, saying she doesn’t know if she can win with Ashjian on the ballot.

Ashjian largely rebuffs her requests, saying at the end of the meeting that he would have to think about it. For an endorsement, he said he wanted an apology from the Tea Party Express and others who have criticized him.

Angle said she couldn’t communicate with the independent groups until after the election.

Conservative activist Chuck Muth, who supported Lowden in the primary, said that Angle’s anti-establishment rhetoric will play well. But, he said, “There’s a fine line a candidate has to walk.”

Angle needs the organizational and institutional support of some of the national groups that she disparages in the recording. After her primary victory “she needed the party establishment to come in and give her a chance. If the national party hadn’t done that, she would have been dead a long time ago.”

In her meeting with Ashjian, Angle said she had national Republicans right where she wanted them. “This is such a national race that if they don’t play, they look like idiots. So really, we’ve got them in a box,” she said.

Nevada Republican Chairman Mark Amodei took little umbrage with Angle’s remarks, agreeing that his own party has had its faults. He said it’s more important that voters trust Angle to be a better representative going forward.

“Listen, the history is what it is,” Amodei said. “There’s things I disagreed with that George W. Bush did. I think ... there’s plenty of room for discontentment. And that all gets magnified by an economy that’s where it’s at now.”

Using a David-and-Goliath metaphor, Angle says she has been trying to shrug off the armor that national Republicans keep trying to load her down with. “I’m trying to get them to leave me alone long enough to where I can get my slingshot and go after this guy,” she says of Reid.

But Muth stressed Angle will need some of that armor.

“David and Goliath is a biblical story, it’s not reality,” he said. “There’s a fine line between being anti-establishment and still taking the establishment’s help.”

Angle spokeswoman Ciara Mathews said she had no information on why Angle decided to accept the meeting. She pointed to an earlier campaign statement.

“Sharron expressed what many working families in Nevada and across the country are feeling,” the statement says. “They are angry with Harry Reid, they are angry with Washington, D.C., and they want blunt, plain-spoken leaders who are willing to shake things up. Sharron represents the interests of Nevada, not the interests of Washington, D.C., like Harry Reid does, and that’s why she is going to win.”

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  1. Sharron Angle has always played moral majority stuff.

    But now, in light of this debacle, she has proven to be only...moronic minority.

    It's best to just stand back and watch as the Republican factions and the Tea Party factions of the Republican Party...maybe it's mislabeled now...they should call themselves Teapublicans or RegurgiTeas or TeaTeaRePubs or something....anyways....we need to just stand back as they chew on each other like a pack of zombie extras in a George Romero flick.

    For those ultra conservatives that like to keep an eye on voting polls, you need to watch really close now. The idiocy of Sharron Angle will cause Senator Reid to skyrocket in those polls. You will soon see the gap widening. But to tell the truth, I never rely on those polls nor place much credence in them. The truth is more important than the spin. And the Republicans only have spin and try to construct things made out of dog poop. And they fail every time when hit with the truth. And the truth is they had nothing before, got nothing now and definitely have no plans for anything new if elected into power. You can't snow the American people forever. Just not possible.

    Senator Reid gets my vote.

  2. Angle provides her OWN "October Surprise"!

    Take her gun away; if she shoots herself in the foot one more time, she's gonna BLEED to death!

    In the 2011 Wickipedia entry for Political Suicide,
    it will have a picture of The Crazy Cat Lady, wearing that goofy grin.

    Thanks for the Memories, Sharrrron.

  3. I'm beginning to see Angle as "Granny" from the Beverly Hillbillies...
    The similarities are ASTOUNDING!!!

  4. Sharron Angle is acting like a moron! She's trying to give the election to Harry the Red by being stupid! All she has to do to beat that miserable piece of fecal matter is hammer away on the economy, the facts that Nevada is #1 in unemployment and foreclosures and that Harry the Red is a lying piece of fecal matter that says one thing in Nevada, then goes back to the pigsty, Washington, DC, and does just the opposite. However, on the subject of the Republicrats, she's absolutely correct. If the Republicrats had done what they were supposed to, there would be no need for the Tea Party. The Republicrats did it to themselves by being Dumbocrats Light! We don't need one Dumbocrat party, let alone two! I'm still gonna vote for Angle rather than the piece of fecal matter!

  5. This is only time that I agree with Sharron Angle. The Republicant party has lost all sense of direction and moral conduct. With what they have done with donations to their political fund, the antics of John Ensign and Jim Gibbons confirms the demise of the Republicants. I am beginning to believe that they do not know what they stand for.

  6. I love the logic here of Angle defenders. Angle is shady is, but so is Reid. Angle promises backroom deals, but so does Reid. Angle is a moron, but so is Reid.

    Reminds me of people defending Nixon: Nixon is a crook, but so are Democrats.

    Our crook is better than your crook.

  7. Angle will still get my vote because the alternative is unthinkable. She is right in saying the GOP has lost its way and they do need to get back to their Constitutional Conservative roots. The Tea Party Movement is helping to get that done. And we voters will not stand for any shenanigans by Angle or anyone else. And it's imperative that Reid be given his pink slip---he's done enough damage for one lifetime.

  8. It's funny. People keep missing the point. It isn't about what Harry Reid did or didn't do. We already know about those things.

    It's about Sharron Angle. She said she wouldn't do any "backroom deals" or sell access to the government. She's going to change how things are done because she's God-fearing and honest. But here she is on tape trying to make a backroom deal to sell access to Republican party leaders. She's doing EXACTLY the same things she decries in Reid after saying she would be different.

  9. Angle is the far better candidate. Reid is a long time corrupt politician than needs to be retired before he and Obama can do anymore damage to our country.
    I can't understand how anyone in Nevada would have anything to do with such scum as Dirty Harry Reid.
    Angle is leading him in the polls, and will soon kick his miserable behind back to Searchlight, where he can't do anymore damage.
    Thank God for Sharron Angle

  10. Oh gosh, sevenhills.

    I watched that link to the video on YouTube you posted. I didn't know whether to laugh or be horrified.


  11. sevenhills...
    Enjoyed the vid, & found the one AFTER that VERY interesting; Senator Franken @ MN State Fair rappin' with the Teabags... worth a view!

    It shows the tea party rabble at it's very ESSENCE, and simultaneously shows how a typical dem in Washington is viewing the issue of Health Care Reform...RATIONALLY, in opposition to repub/teabag histrionics, lies, misrepresentations and distortions of reality.
    And how GREED is the CORE of the PROBLEM.

  12. Politics as usual. Of course groups like "freeDUMB JERKS," "Americans for Prosperity for inherited Wealth Rich People," and other Koch Bros (recently condemned by name by Arnold Schwarzenegger for their pro-pollution agenda) a*troturf groups are shills for the corporate greed lobby.

    Angle's backroom deal making and juice selling is typical. She voted for the insurance mandates before she was against them.

    FIX News (headquarter in the Arab Gulf) has a phony poll out, and even that shows Reid even.

    Greta Van Sustern, Ann COulter, Rasmussen and others are saying the Repubs won't take the Senate. Even if they do, they won't have a veto proof majority. The Farm Bill, the Highway Bill, the Defence Bill and Congressional Pay Raise Bills will passed regardless. It will be business as usual in D.C.

  13. Speaking of Hypocrites I heard Ensign talking about traditional marriage when he was getting his morning Shoe Shine on the Heidi Harris Train-wreck Show on Kdumb Radio.