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October 23, 2014

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Transcript of the Harry Reid-Sharron Angle debate, Oct. 14, 2010

(A double asterisk ** marks points where the moderator attempted to cut in to keep candidates within their allotted time.)

Mitch Fox, Moderator:

Good evening and welcome to the 2010 Nevada Senate Debate, sponsored by the Nevada Broadcasters Foundation in partnership with the Nevada Broadcasters’ Association. I’m Mitch Fox from Vegas PBS, and I’ll serve as your moderator for this important political event.

Joining me this evening is the Republican candidate for United States Senate, Sharron Angle. And the Democratic candidate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Welcome to both of you.

We want to thank each of the participating 60 Nevada television and radio stations for providing this important one-hour block of time as a public service to our communities. But it goes beyond that. The broadcasters feel the obligation to engage the electorate and inform the voters.

The format we will follow has been accepted and agreed to by both campaigns. Each candidate will give a two-minute opening statement. The candidates will then be asked a series of questions, some of which were submitted by YouTube, and by TV viewers and radio listeners here in the state of Nevada.

Each candidate will be given one minute to respond to the question, followed by the first candidate giving a thirty second rebuttal. The program concludes with one-minute closing statements from each candidate.

It was determined by the flip of a Nevada quarter that the first opening statement will be offered by Senator Harry Reid. Senator Reid.

Reid:

Mitch, thank you and thanks to the Nevada broadcasters for arranging this. Growing up in Searchlight, I had some interesting times. My dad was a big man, much bigger than I am. Broad shoulders, weightlifter arms, even though he never lifted any weights. Times were tough, the mines weren’t doing well at all. When he worked, sometimes he didn’t get paid, checks bounced. My mom took in wash from the brothels in Searchlight. So I have some idea of what it’s like to struggle.

We were the top of the economic food chain in Nevada for 20 years. When Wall Street collapsed, we fell really hard. There’s a big hole there. We found it there about 20 months ago. We could hardly see out of that hole. But we’ve struggled.

I believe my number one job is to create jobs as a United States Senator. That’s why I’ve worked very very hard to do just that.

Taxes. We reduced taxes for 95 percent of Nevadans, and all Americans. We did tax reform for small business – that’s the driving engine of business in America, 75 percent of all jobs are small business. We reduced taxes for small business eight times.

Wall Street reform – they will never ever be able to do to us again what they did to us before ‘cause we’ve changed the law.

Mortgages, I understand, homes are underwater. I have three boys that have homes here in Nevada. Actually four – one’s in the northern part of the state. I have a home in Nevada, I understand where house values have gone. That’s why I’ve worked hard to get $200 million into the state of Nevada to help homeowners.

Renewable energy. We got a lot of jobs here for renewable energy and that’s important, I’m glad we did.

The economy – everything we talk about tonight is related to the economy. Everything. That’s social security, energy, the whole works.

I want you to look at my Facebook, Twitter, to make sure ** to check all the facts here, ‘cause we will fact check them.

Fox:

Thank you Senator Reid. Now Mrs. Angle.

Sharron Angle:

Good evening. Thank you Nevada broadcasters and PBS for sponsoring this event. Tonight, we’re going to see a contrast between me, Sharron Angle, and Senator Harry Reid. The contrast will be what you will make your choice on when you’re voting.

The contrast begins. I’m not a career politician, I’m a mother, and a grandmother – I was a teacher for 25 years. Senator Reid has been a politician for over 30 years. I live in a middle class neighborhood in Reno Nevada. Senator Reid lives in the Ritz Carlton in Washington D.C.

I have a legislative record of voting over 100 times against tax and fee increases, poor public policy, and unconstitutional laws. Senator Reid has voted over 300 times to raise our taxes. He’s voted for poor public policy like stimulus and bailout, and he’s voted for unconstitutional bills, like Obamacare.

These aren’t just policies, these are policies that have hurt Nevada. We have the highest rate of unemployment in the nation, the highest rate of foreclosure in the nation, highest rate of bankruptcies in the nation – and these aren’t just numbers. These are real people.

When I call my grown children and I say, how are you doing, what I’m really asking is, are you still able to make that mortgage payment? And do you still have your job.

Our founding fathers knew that the best government was a limited government of the people of the people by the people and for the people. Tonight you will see the difference between Harry Reid and big government, and Sharron Angle and limited, constitutional government.

Fox:

Thank you very much. The next series of questions will focus on immigration, and Senator Reid, you’re up first.

In the minds of many Nevadans, Senator Reid your policies have allowed thousands of illegal immigrants to stream across the border because you have not made border security a priority. Why is it only this year that you talked about securing the border when this problem has been going on for years if not decades?

Reid:

Immigration is a problem. We have a system in America that’s broken and needs to be fixed. That’s why in August, of this year, I introduced legislation that was finally passed to do something about our borders. We now have on our border Predators flying over 24 hours a day. We have 4500 new border patrol agents. We have National Guard there. And we have fences being built.

I’m frustrated like everyone else is frustrated. But I believe we have to look at the issue and do comprehensive immigration reform. We cannot ignore it. That’s the reason that we have to do something about the people that are here that are undocumented. Have them pay taxes, pay penalties, fines, and of course, by doing that, we will be able to not demagogue the issue but doing something about it. We have to work together on the issue.

Fox:

Thank you Senator Reid. Mrs. Angle, your response.

Angle:

What we have here is an illegal alien problem and the solution is simple: secure the borders, enforce the laws. I think every state should have a Sheriff like Joe Arpaio, and we should be supporting Arizona instead of suing Arizona like Senator Reid and President Obama have.

When they sued Arizona they also allowed 11 foreign countries to join in that suit. Senator Reid you’ve allowed 11 foreign countries to dictate our immigration law. That’s just nuts. We need to get back to simple solutions to these problems. Once we’ve secure the borders, enforced the laws, then we can deal with those internal problems that we have left. But we have to stop incentivizing those folks that are coming here for jobs, for medical, and for education free – and for also social security benefits; those are for citizens, not for illegal aliens.

Fox:

Senator Reid, you can respond for thirty seconds.

Reid:

Thank you Mitch. The number one issue here is comprehensive immigration reform, we have to do something to solve the issue. We can’t keep talking about it. That’s why I worked very hard the last Congress, to work with John McCain – that was his legislation and it’s basically the same legislation we’re working on now: to move forward on this issue, to stop talking about it, and do something about it.

Fox:

Okay. Our next question, Mrs. Angle, is again on immigration.

In a television ad, you claim Senator Reid “voted to get special tax breaks to illegal aliens and to give illegals Social Security benefits.”

Most reputable fact checkers have said that’s patently false, especially the line about social security benefits. The ad was even criticized by the chair of the Republican Hispanic Caucus. Would you like to denounce the ad as deceptive or give voters documented evidence about its accuracy.

Angle:

Not at all, I’m glad to give voters, um, the opportunity to see that Harry Reid has voted to give Social Security to illegal aliens. Not only did he vote to give it to them after they have become citizens but even before they were citizens, he voted to give them the benefits of our Social Security. Our Social Security system is one that needs to be addressed and we’re not addressing it. In fact what we need to do is make sure that we keep our promise to our senior citizens and make sure that our younger folks have the opportunity to have a personalized Social Security retirement account similar to the thrift plan that Senator Reid has. If it’s good enough for Harry Reid it should be good enough for the rest of us.

Fox:

Okay, Senator Reid?

Reid:

Mitch, my opponent didn’t answer the question. Everything she has said in that ad is false. It’s not true. I’ve never voted for tax breaks for people who are here that are illegal, I’ve never voted for security, Social Security benefits for people here. That is not the law in this country, she knows it and she should stop saying it. That’s why she moved over to Social Security and other issues that have nothing to do with the question that you asked.

Fox:

Response.

Angle:

Well I think that the question has everything to do with Social Security and what’s gone wrong in our system because we haven’t secured the borders, and enforced the laws. Senator Reid talks about comprehensive immigration law but really what he’s talking about is something that didn’t work in 1986. I’m a great fan of Ronald Reagan’s, but he had it wrong when he gave amnesty in 1986. We need to first secure the borders.

Fox:

Okay on this next question I’m gonna ask for a simple yes or no in response to this question, and that’s this – Mrs. Angle, you’ll go first. Would you be in favor of a constitutional amendment establishing English as the official language of the United States?

Angle:

Yes.

Reid:

English is already the official language.

Fox:

Okay. We’ll move on to the next category and this has to do with health care reform but before we do, I’d like to remind everybody that YouTube is partnered with the Nevada Broadcasters Association, in providing issues for the candidates. So far there’s been 50,000 hits on the YouTube website, and by far the biggest issue for YouTube users is our next one, which is health care. Senator Reid, you’ll get this question.

According to the Medicare’s actuary, the health care reform bill will actually increase costs including the addition of $100 million a year to Nevada’s Medicaid budget.

In light of the expensive mandates on small business and the intense voter backlash, why didn’t you and President Obama focus on jobs and the foreclosure crisis first, knowing how Nevada has suffered more than any other state?

Reid:

For a long time in this country, insurance companies have dominated the health care delivery system. You pay your premiums, you get sick or hurt, they walk away from you.

We passed health insurance reform because we had no choice. I don’t know where you got the question, but the facts are all wrong. We, according to the Congressional Budget Office, independent, have been told that we will reduce the debt by $1.3 trillion. We allow people who are, who have children with preexisting conditions like diabetes, to no longer be denied insurance by those folks.

It is something that we had to do including extend the life of Medicare for 12 years, fill the doughnut hole. The facts that you gave Mitch are simply wrong. We had to do health insurance reform to maintain competitive in the world economy, and it creates jobs, thousands and thousands of jobs.

Fox:

Okay Senator Reid, I’m gonna ask you that again – why didn’t you and President Obama focus on jobs and the foreclosure crisis first, knowing how Nevada has suffered more than any other state?

Reid:

We did focus on foreclosure first, one of the first bills we passed in this Congress was mortgage fraud. We moved into that very quickly, to prevent these people who are taking advantage of folks who are in trouble with their homes. And that, we’ve had indictments here in Nevada and all around the country as a result of doing that.

And remember what I said earlier. Health insurance reform creates jobs. I was at MedCo today, they just, they’re bringing on 500 new people, because we now have 2,000 pharmacists there, as a result of what the health care reform bill did they’re going to be bringing more people there.

Fox:

Okay. Mrs. Angle?

Angle:

Obamacare cut a half a trillion dollars out of Medicare right at the point where Social, senior citizens need to have that Medicare advantage. That’s where their choices are. It also cost us half a trillion dollars in new taxes.

The solutions to the health care insurance cost problem are simple, and they reside within the free market. We need to get the government out so we can go across state lines to choose insurance companies. We need to get the government out of the process so we can take off those mandated coverages. We need to get the government out so we can have tort reform and so we can expand the pools.

The solutions to the health care cost of insurance – are free market.

Fox:

Senator Reid?

Reid:

[soft chuckle] The facts are wrong. I read to the Medicare – I mean, the medical people today, here today, the fact that – a letter form Secretary Sebelius. Medicare Advantage people in the state of Nevada are going to pay less rather than more. There will be more Medicare Advantage people on the rolls now, as a result of the health care being passed.

My opponent doesn’t like any insurance companies to have to do anything. She’s against mammograms, colonoscopies, and as we’ve heard lately, insurance companies covering kids that have autism. That’s really extreme.

Fox:

Okay. Ah, we’ll go to the next question, it’s still on health care reform, and actually, Senator Reid kind of paraphrased my question but I’ll rephrase it. [gestures to Angle, who laughs]

You’ve said on various occasions, and in fact voted in the state assembly, to do away with mandated coverage of mammograms and colon cancer tests. You’ve come out in favor of eliminating coverage for autism and maternity leave. Is there anything you think the insurance companies should be forced to cover?

Angle:

America is a country of choices, not forcing people to buy things that they don’t need. What we want is a basic policy where we can add the coverages that we need.

I taught autistic children. I know that this is a real, biomedical disorder and it needs to have its own insurance code so that families can get the right treatment and also be covered. But the insurance mandate that we passed in this state only cares for 25 percent of the one out of every 110 children that have autism.

We need to stop making Band-Aid applications and look at real solutions when we talk about health care, and really, forcing someone to buy something that they don’t need is not the way to solve a problem.

Fox:

Okay let me rephrase that question again – is there anything, at all, that you think the insurance companies should be mandated to cover. Anything?

Angle:

Anything at all?

Fox:

Yes.

Angle:

I think that what we have here is a choice between the free market and Americanism. American is about choices. And we need to allow people to have those choices. The free market will weed out those companies that don’t offer as many choices and don’t have a cost-effective system. Let the people decide where they want to buy their insurance – you don’t have to force them to buy anything and you don’t have to force anyone to offer a product that no one wants.

Fox:

Okay, so no insurance mandates. Okay. Senator Reid?

Reid:

Mitch, insurance companies. Insurance companies don’t do things out of the goodness of their hearts, they do it out of a profit motive and they have almost destroyed our economy. Twenty percent of all costs, prior to our passing our health insurance reform, was because of health care costs. If we didn’t do something to change it, it would go up by, in less than 15 years, to 36 cents of every dollar. It would break us.

We need them to be forced to do mammograms. That’s why you see breast cancer awareness month, you see the baseball players wearing pink shoes and you see the football players having pink helmets. It’s because people dread breast cancer and you don’t get breast cancer, you correct breast cancer, you detect it, if you do mammograms.

Colonoscopies – if you do colonoscopies, colon cancer does not come cause you snip off the things they find when they go up and – no more. And we need to have the insurance companies do this, it’ll save money in the long run to do this.

Fox:

Thank you. Mrs. Angle, thirty seconds.

Angle:

[soft chuckle] Well pink ribbons are not going to make people have a better insurance plan. What makes people have better insurance plans is competition. And that’s what I’ve been saying all along is that we need more competition so that they will cover the things that we need them to cover, because that’s the things that we want to buy. That’s how the free market works, that’s why our solutions reside in the free market and when we talk about what has destroyed this economy, Obamacare is destroying out economy, I know a company ** that has laid off five people because of Obamacare.

Fox:

Thank you, this is a straight up yes or no question, Mrs. Angle, you’ll get it first. Do you think the health care reform act should include coverage for abortions?

Angle:

No.

Fox:

Senator Reid?

Reid:

The law we passed maintained the Hyde amendment.

Fox:

That would be a yes or no?

Reid:

Uh, under the law, that exists today, the Hyde amendment which has been the law in this country for thirty years is still there.

Fox:

Okay let’s move on to the economy, and this is for you, Senator Reid. Nevada has the highest foreclosure rate in the country. Las Vegas has the highest unemployment rate in the country. In fact the jobless rate has soared five percentage points in Nevada since President Obama has taken office. At what point will you stop putting the blame on President Bush and start blaming the current President, Barack Obama?

Reid:

[chuckle] There’s plenty of blame to go around. Uh, the fact is, I’ve worked hard to do something to help beleaguered Nevada homeowners. Two hundred million dollars here to work on mortgages that are underwater. Forty-eight thousand people in Nevada now have homes as a result of legislation that I pushed, the first-time homebuyer’s tax credit. We, as a result of my pressure on Bank of America, now have no more foreclosures by them, there’s a moratorium there.

We have to do more of course, But we have to understand that they won’t be able to do to us again as I indicated earlier, what they did to us before, because we passed Wall Street reform that will stop these greedy bankers on Wall Street from taking advantage of homeowners.

Fox:

Do you think President Obama shares enough, as much blame as President Bush?

Reid:

Of course not. You know, Mitch, when we, when President Bush took office, he had a surplus, over ten years of seven trillion dollars. We were paying down the debt in the Clinton years. We paid down the debt by $600 billion. So we’re in this hole, and we’re trying to dig out of it.

We lost eight million jobs during the Bush years, we’ve created three and a half million of ‘em. There’s a long ways to go and no one’s satisfied where we are, but let’s realize where we were and how far we’ve come.

That’s no solace to somebody that’s been, ** lost a job, or a home, but we’ve made progress.

Fox:

Mrs. Angle.

Angle:

The housing bubble was caused a long time before this recent recession. And it has to do with things that we have refused to deal with in our Senate, that Senator Harry Reid has refused to deal with over the years.

The first one is that we have a problem with the Federal Reserve. We need a true audit of the Federal Reserve. Secondly, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have never been really truthfully dealt with. They’ve kept sweeping that away and away and away – in fact, in this last finance reform bill we could have dealt with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae but they said no, it was too big a problem to deal with.

We need to start looking at these and looking at true solutions. And first we have to investigate what caused the problem in the first place. Certainly this problem has been going on ever since Senator Reid has been in leadership and that was before the Obama administration, ** but they’ve failed to deal with it in the Obama administration as well.

Fox:

Thank you, Senator Reid, thirty seconds.

Reid:

Well we do have a commission, we have a Las Vegan, Byron Georgiou, and Heather Murren on that to find out what really happened at the collapse, so we’re, we’re on top of that. The Federal Reserve – I called for a Federal Reserve audit in 1985 – ‘87, I’m sorry. So, I agree with my opponent on that, there should be a Federal Reserve audit. We haven’t gotten it yet, it’s uh, but we’ve made some progress in that regard.

Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – all experts say it needs reform but you can’t do away with them for heaven’s sakes. We would ** have no way of even sustaining the housing market we have today.

Fox:

Thank you. A next question goes to you Mrs. Angle, and it is on unemployment. You were quoted as saying “you can make more on unemployment than you can going down there and getting one of those jobs. That is an honest job but it doesn’t pay as much. We have put in so much entitlement into our government that we really have spoiled our citizenry.”

Two questions. Number one, do you think the unemployment – do you think the unemployed – are spoiled? And then Hugh from Carson City wants to know: what you plan to do to fix the unemployment problem, especially if you believe that getting jobs for Nevadans is not your job.

Angle:

Well, first of all, no I don’t think that our unemployed are spoiled and that was totally mischaracterized by my opponent. However he did call us that want to know what the answers are selfish children.

We need to get Nevada back to work, and the way we do that is by encouraging the private sector to do what they do best, with policies from the government that give them confidence so that they can go forward. Right now they’re in a cloud of uncertainty and they’re holding back two trillion dollars that they would like to invest in jobs for Nevadans and Americans but they’re holding back because of more taxation and regulation coming out of Senator Reid’s administrative policies.

Fox:

Okay let me ask a follow up. Do you believe that getting jobs for Nevadans is not your job?

Angle:

I believe that my job is to create the policies that will encourage the private sector to do what they do best and that is to create jobs.

Fox:

That would be a no. Okay. Senator Reid, your response?

Reid:

Mitch, yesterday or the day before, we had a company from China come here to create a thousand jobs. They’ve already leased the warehouse, they’re going to make LED lighting. They’re going to build windmills. That’s the result of tax policy that I put in a bill. We have now almost two billion dollars worth of work going on in Nevada with renewable energy jobs. That’s the result of tax policy, incentives to have them do that.

McCarran airport, as a real, as a result of tax policy, we have a $3 billion project going on there today. Harrah’s, as a result of language in a bill there, they, we saved 31,000 jobs at Harrah’s alone. All these things I’ve talked about today, my opponent is against those, she wouldn’t do that. My job is to create jobs. What she’s talking about is extreme.

We have to do this, we’ve been doing it since Boulder Dam was created 81 years ago. We started construction.

Fox:

Okay. And, your response.

Angle:

Once again, Harry Reid, it’s not your job to create jobs, it’s your job to create policies that create the confidence for the private sector to create those jobs. And they have lost confidence because of things like Obamacare. There’s a, a business in Reno, where he wanted to hire twenty-four – five – more employees but instead laid of five, just because of the provisions in Obamacare.

We’re seeing those kinds of policies actually crush our economy over the last 20 months.

Fox:

Okay the next question and it goes to Senator Reid and this has to do with the Supreme Court.

One of the most important duties given to a U.S. Senator by the Constitution is the approval of an individual to a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. So we can get a sense on how you would vote, name a current or former Supreme Court Justice you admire, and why, and name a current or former Supreme Court justice who should never have been approved by the Senate.

Reid:

This may surprise everyone, and I got a little criticism for doing this, I don’t agree with Scalia’s opinions lots of times, but he is a masterful, masterful mind. He does good things. So Scalia, he has done a job – I don’t agree with his opinions, but he’s really an example to anyone who appreciates the law.

Whizzer White – I liked him because of his opinions but also because he was an all-American football player.

Um, and we can go back to the early days of this country, there were opinions written dealing with slavery that were totally wrong. I want to say before my time’s up however: my opponent keeps talking about Obamacare. Remember, 30,000 small businesses in Nevada have the ability to get health insurance supplements – that is this, they have an insurance policy that costs X number of dollars, they can get a reduction up to 35 to 50 percent on that.

She keeps talking about somebody losing their employment because of health care. I would be happy to sit down and talk to them and explain that’s not necessary. They would, should be able to do much better now, because of health care. So they simply aren’t doing better because they don’t understand the law.

Fox:

Okay. You had the Supreme Court question now.

Angle:

The Supreme Court. I admire Clarence Thomas because he understands his, uh, constitutional boundaries as a judge in the Supreme Court, and that’s what we need. We need justices that will sit on the Supreme Court and do their duty constitutionally, not legislate from the bench.

I would not have confirmed Elena Kagan or Sonia Sotomayor, and that reason is because neither one of them understand the Constitution and have said that they would vote against things like our Second Amendment rights. Those are things that are dear to us as Americans. We know that our founding fathers wanted Supreme Court judges who would stand up for our Constitution – a Constitution that was created for we the people to be free.

Fox:

Okay. And Senator Reid.

Reid:

I think we should stop running down the Supreme Court. I don’t agree with all the opinions. Take for example Gore vs. Bush. That was an opinion I disagreed with, 5-to-4 opinion, that had the hanging chad and all that stuff. But I believe in our country, I believe in our Constitution which I have in my pocket here.

That decision said a lot. Even though I disagreed with the opinion, when they ruled, immediately George Bush became my president. There were no windows broken , no riots, that’s what our country’s all about, our rule of law – and we should leave the Supreme Court alone and pick the best lawyers we can find to go into court.

Fox:

Okay, we’re gonna talk about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – and you get the first question Mrs. Angle.

A federal judge’s order to halt enforcement of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was hailed by gay activists as a landmark ruling in the struggle to expand their rights. Don’t you think it’s time to end discrimination of gay sand lesbians in our military, first question? Second question: how do you feel about such Republicans as Dick Cheney, and Laura Bush, coming out in favor gay rights?

Angle:

The, um, policies within the military, especially this one, are under review. Right now – and we should be waiting for the review of our military to make those decisions, not jumping ahead and making those decisions as Senator Reid tried to do when he put that provision in the defense bill. We, here in Nevada have been very careful to define the marriage as between a man and a woman. Through two general elections, over 70 percent of our population has voted to, uh, define marriage as between a man and a woman. I support what Nevada has done, and I will represent our constituents on that basis.

Fox:

And what do you think about Republicans such as former vice president Dick Cheney and first lady Laura Bush coming out in favor of gay rights?

Angle:

That of course is their personal opinion and their prerogative. Every American has the freedom of speech, and they have the freedom to have an opinion, that’s great.

Fox:

Okay. Senator Reid?

Reid;

Mitch, I respectfully suggest to my opponent that she simply doesn’t understand what went on in Washington. The bill that came up to do away with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell said that it could only be done away with if the Secretary of Defense signed off on it, and the President of the United States and both of them certified that it would not hurt our defense. And they could only do that after the report was issued by the Pentagon as to whether or not it was good for the military. So it was the right thing to do.

The legislation on the Senator floor didn’t say we’re going to get rid of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, it said that a Republican Secretary of Defense, appointed by President Bush, along with President Obama, would have to certify that it would do no harm to our troops only after the report by the Pentagon came down.

Fox:

Mrs. Angle?

Angle:

Well, I submit to you that that’s the wrong way to do legislation, just like when Nancy Pelosi said that we should pass the bill and then read it. We should be looking at that review before we make bills based on that review. So the review needs to come out first, and then the bill. So I submit to you Senator that I do know the process, the process is read the bill, first, and then pass it.

Fox:

Okay, we have a couple of questions on Social Security first to you Senator Reid. Earlier in the year it was announced that this year, the Social Security system will pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes – an important threshold it was not expected to cross until at least 2016. Your opponent blames you for the shortfall. She claims you raided the Social Security trust fund to offset the deficit. What’s your response?

Reid:

Social Security is a promise we have to keep. It takes care of seniors in their golden years. That’s why I worked so hard to protect Social Security. I feel so strongly about this that I took on the President of the United states when he tried to privatize it, and we won that battle.

Social Security is an important program. The actuarials at Social Security and also the CBO has said within the past month that Social Security will pay out 100 percent of its benefits for the next 35 to 40 years. That’s important. And also understand, that even after that, there would be a shortfall of 15 to 20 percent. We need to care, we, of that, and we can do that with some undertaking.

Don’t frighten people about Social Security. The deal that was made by President Reagan and Tip O’Neill is holding strong. The money is there and it’s taking care of our folks, and will for the next 35 years as I’ve just indicated.

Fox:

Thank you. Mrs. Angle?

Angle:

Man up, Harry Reid, you need to understand that we have a problem with Social Security. That problem was created because of government taking that money out fo the Social Security trust fund.

In 1990, you said it was stealing to use Social Security for anything but Social Security, and then you voted to take that Social Security money into the general fund where it could be generally used for generally anything. When you did that, you left IOUs there, special Treasury bonds that are kept in a filing cabinet in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

What we need to do is keep our promises to our senior citizens by putting the money back in the trust fund, and going forward, allowing our workers to have the option of a personalized Social Security retirement plan that becomes an asset to them, just like your thrift plan is an asset to you. If it’s good enough for you, it should be good enough for the rest of us.

Fox:

Senator Reid?

Reid:

Mitch, these ideas of my opponent are really extreme. [chuckle] I said CBO, the actuaries said there’s plenty of money in that trust fund account. During the Clinton years, we did not use the trust fund monies to offset the deficit. We were strengthening Social Security by not using it to offset the deficit. Her facts are absolutely wrong.

Fox:

Okay, Mrs. Angle, you have another question on Social Security. You said during a primary election debate, moderated by Jon Ralston and I quote: “we need to phase Social Security and Medicare out, in favor of something privatized.”

Before the primary, you used the word “privatized”, and now you use the word “personalized.” Why did you change your position on Social Security?

Angle:

Well because of the idea that personalized covers both private and public. As I stated, Harry Reid and many government employees have a personalized retirement account. It’s called the thrift savings plan. That’s an account that is their personalized account and as I said, if it’s good enough for Harry Reid it should be good enough for the rest of us.

When we talk about Social Security, and the money being there, remember that the CBO said that by 2016 we’d be in the red – well we’re in the red now. Forty one billion dollars more is going out than is coming in, and if we don’t do something to fix this then by 2037, anyone under 40 years of age will not be receiving the benefits of the money that they put in paycheck after paycheck.

Fox:

Senator Reid?

Reid:

CBO, I repeat for the third time, actuarials said for the next 35 years, everyone will get all the money they want. Even after that, it takes minor tinkering to take care of it in the out years.

The arrangement that was made by President Reagan and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill looked forward to today, recognizing that huge amounts of money came in initially, and then as time went on, you would have to pay out more.

Now she talks about, and has for years talked about getting rid of Social Security, for years. This isn’t something just during the primary. Now she’s trying to change her tune. I’ve heard her even say, why don’t we have a program like they have in Chile, or England. Those two countries ruined their pensioners. They went broke.

You can’t put these monies into a, the stock market. Look what would have happened if we put this money into the stock market as was suggested by President Bush. This is an extreme idea, and it is not good, and it will destroy Social Security.

Fox:

And Mrs. Angle, thirty seconds.

Angle:

Well I will just say, there you go again, trying to hedge on this idea that what is going on is that our Social Security system had 2.5 trillion dollars – 25 trillion – 2.5 trillion – dollars in it and now it has IOUs. What we need to do is make sure that we keep our promise to our senior citizens to put that money back.

Fox:

Okay our next question is on Yucca mountain. And Senator Reid, you’re up first.

Reid:

Okay.

Fox:

Last week the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission directed agency scientists to stop working at Yucca Mountain. This was of course cheered by Yucca Mountain opponents. But this is what Mrs. Angle has said about you, and I’m quoting from the program Face to Face, quote: “Harry Reid has demonized the nuclear industry. There’s a pot of money out there, we have some potential for some job creation and some diversification.”

Question: did we miss a golden opportunity to create jobs and receive benefits from the federal government during a time when we really needed it?

Reid:

Mitch we tried for 28 years to get something from the federal government, they gave us nothing. Yucca Mountain is not good for the country and it is really bad for Nevada. The most poisonous substance known to man a few miles outside Las Vegas? No.

People said we couldn’t kill it? It’s dead. Yucca Mountain will no longer on the list. We need to use it for something else. But my opponent suggests using it for a nuclear reactor. I – there isn’t enough water in the whole state of Nevada to build a nuclear reactor. The only nuclear generation that uses more elec – more water, I’m sorry – than uh, coal, is nuclear. There’s just not enough water here to do anything about it.

I’m not against nuclear power. I just was totally opposed to trying to bring all the garbage from it to the state of Nevada.

Fox:

Okay, Mrs. Angle?

Angle:

Well I’ve always voted against making Nevada the nuclear waste dump of the nation. But the science now has outpaced the need for a dump here in Nevada. We don’t’ want a dump here in Nevada, but we need to quit demonizing the nuclear energy industry. What we have are breeder reactors and submarines that use liquid metal to cool. It isn’t always water that’s required for nuclear energy, and we should look into the potentials for nuclear energy. Certainly we shouldn’t be dependent upon foreign oil, we should be developing all of our resources, and we should also allow coal-fired plants to be built in Ehly, Nevada, which Harry Reid killed, because he said coal makes us sick.

We have to stop with this extreme environmental outlook, catch up to the technologies of the day, and use those things to create jobs here in Nevada.

Fox:

Thank you. Senator Reid?

Reid:

I heard my opponent talk about these coal-fired plants. Of course, we have got something much better than the coal plants now. We have a power line that’s worked out between the owners of those power plants from the north to the south. All using renewable energy, except on in Mesquite, which is going to use now, not only natural gas which is our product, an American product, forty percent less polluting than diesel fuel. And it’s going to also be solar.

So we’ve made great progress and I admire and appreciate what NV Energy has done, backing off those coal plants, which even they recognized, hasn’t worked. ** We have created lots of lots of jobs in renewable energy, to match whatever losses from the coal-fired plants.

Fox:

Next topic is education, and you have the question. You said on multiple occasions Mrs. Angle, including in an interview with CBN, that you wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, which means you favor eliminating funding to schools with low-income students, you favor eliminating Pell grants for low-income college students, you favor eliminating Head Start, an early childhood education program for lower income children, and you want to zero out funding for three year old children with disabilities. Is that correct?

Angle:

[chuckling] Totally incorrect. As I said in my opening statement, I was a teacher for 25 years. I also served on the school board in my county and I was on the education committee for eight years in the Nevada State Assembly. What I know of the Department of Education at the federal level is that it’s an agency that makes one size fits all policy that fits no one. Like No Child Left Behind.

We send our money to Washington D.C. to be skimmed off by 6,000 bureaucrats. That’s 69 million – billion – dollars a year that is skimmed off, sent back to us in the form of underfunded and unfunded mandates.

We need to keep that money right here in the state, as close to the local level as possible where parents and teachers are the stakeholders, and they should be making the policies. That’s our Tenth Amendment right.

Fox:

Senator Reid?

Reid:

Mitch, um, the Department of Energy does wonderful things for the state. Though programs that they’ve initiated, we’ve reduced the amount of interest that parents have to pay for their children’s loans. We have been able to do something with Pell grants -- $550 a year more, which is extremely helpful to keep kids in college. What we’ve been able to do is bring $400 million to the state to help K through 12 during the last year. We’ve been able to bring $350 million to our university system. This is all initiated through the Department of Education. And we need to protect the Department of Education.

Ronald Reagan had an idea when he first came to office – maybe we should try getting rid of that. When he left office, he knew it was the wrong thing to do. Some of the best programs that we have at the Department of Education, were initiated by Ronald Reagan.

Fox:

Okay, Mrs. Angle? Thirty seconds.

Angle:

The Department of Education has been around since the early ‘80s, late ‘70s, and since then the quality of our education has diminished year after year after year.

We would be so much better off taking our Tenth Amendment rights, just the way that Arizona did with illegal aliens, and just the way that Missouri did with Obamacare. We need to take our Tenth amendment rights, put that education as close to the local level as possible where parents and teachers make the policies.

Fox:

Our next question is on Iraq, and that’s for you Senator Reid.

Senator Reid, you were quoted as saying the following: “the war is lost, and the surge is not accomplishing anything as indicated by the extreme violence.”

Do you believe that your statement demoralized the troops, and were inaccurate as judged by the success of the troop surge?

Reid:

Mitch, I first met General Petraeus in Iraq. The statement that I made was made following General Petraeus saying the war cannot be won militarily. He said, and I said, the war can only be won militarily, economically, and diplomatically. That’s why after I made my statement, and General Petraeus made his statement, we did the surge then, not later. And it was the right thing to do.

The surge worked because we brought in the economy, working with the Sunnis, we brought in diplomacy, working with, and that’s how we got the Sunni awakening so they started fighting the people who were causing all the trouble.

General Petraeus has done a good job. He’s my friend. I’m glad he’s in Afghanistan. And I have supported the troops with wounded warrior legislation, I’ve been to Afghanistan, I’ve been to Iraq and seen how courageous they are. And that’s why I’ve been endorsed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, they know what I’ve done for the troops.

Fox:

Mrs. Angle.

Angle:

Well I don’t have the access to special security briefings like the Senator does, and I didn’t get to vote for either one of those wars like the Senator did. But I do know this: that we need to support our military with all of our resources, not only our military in service right now, but those veterans and their families as well. That’s one of those priorities in the enumerated powers of our Constitution. We should be setting our priorities on our military.

But when you said this war is lost and said that General Petraeus was dishonest, that emboldened our enemies, dis-, demoralized our troops, and endangered them, and you need to apologize to them, Senator.

Reid:

I’ve been endorsed by the largest military organization in the country, the Veterans of Foreign Wars. My opponent, listen to this idea, she wants to privatize the Veterans’ Administration – think about that. Privatize the Veterans Administration.

I worked hard – we have a veterans hospital out here that is being constructed. It’ll be the finest in the whole world. It’s a prototype for other V.A. hospitals. We haven’t had a new one in 15 years and it is a beauty. And I’m glad I worked on that, I’m glad I worked on the wounded warrior legislation, I’m glad I helped pass a G.I. bill of rights. I appreciate work of our military and will continue to work with them ** for the rest of my political career.

Fox:

Thank you, Mrs. Angle you have the next question.

On Saturday you were at a political rally, and referred to “favor-buying pork politicians” referring to Senator Reid. People want to know if you engaged in favor-buying when you promised political juice to Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian if he should drop out of the race.

Angle:

Not at all – what I offered was the access to government that all people want when they have a representative in the U.S. Senate. They want to know that when they come to Washington D.C., they will be heard. They want to know that when they request a town hall meeting, that they will be heard.

I’d like to go back though to the Veterans Administration. My father is a veteran of World War Two and the Korean War, he has an injury related to that, he’s 88 years old. He has Social Security, Medicare, and the V.A. And yet he pays $800 a month in prescription drugs. What I said was we could do better. We need to do better for our military, our veterans and their families. That should be our top priority.

Fox:

Senator Reid?

Reid:

I would suggest her dad come into one of my offices so with some casework on that, because that’s certainly – he shouldn’t be doing that. Um, I want to comment – political juice, that’s her question. But let me just say this.

My friend has berated all night, health care. Health insurance reform. I have health insurance, like six million other federal employees. I want others to have that same health insurance that I have, and that’s one of the reasons we worked so hard to get health insurance reform passed.

My opponent, her husband Ted, worked for the BLM for 37 years. They have a pension from the federal government. They live on that pension. They have health care just like I have from the federal government.

I want to help others who don’t have what I have – 50 million Americans – have the same insurance I have. And that’s why we’re setting up the exchanges, so that in three and a half years they will have that.

Fox:

Thank you, Mrs. Angle, thirty seconds.

Angle:

Well certainly Obamacare is nothing like the insurance policy that my husband and I have. Every year there’s a window and we get to make a choice. Obamacare offers no choices so it’s, it’s not at all like what Senator Reid has. And what we really do need is something like what Senator Reid has which is, that we should all have the choices that we can pick our own insurance companies and insurance policies, rather than having the government dictate and mandate the coverages that we buy.

Fox:

Okay. Next question is on the Bush tax cuts, it goes to you Senator Reid.

Reid:

Okay.

Fox:

The Bush era tax cuts are set to expire at year’s end. Without Congressional action the taxes Americans pay on income, dividends and capital gains will rise, returning to late 1990s levels. Why do you want to raise taxes, even on the wealthy, in the midst of a recession?

Reid:

Mitch McConnell and I, who is my Republican counterpart, we don’t agree on everything, but we agree on one thing: that we have to wait until we get back after the election to find out what the economy’s going to be.

I guarantee everyone that there will be no increase for middle class people in America. No tax increase for middle class America. We have to see what we are told by the experts, what we should do with the people who make more than that. I personally am not in favor of giving billionaire tax cuts right now. We’ll have to see anyone less than billionaires, and we’ll do that when we get back.

I also want to say this, my time’s not up. My friend keeps talking about the fact that exchanges, exchanges, we have them, every year, we have exchanges, just like people who will have it under the health care insurance that we passed. They will get choices just like we have. I repeat, I want everyone to have the same choices that I have.

She doesn’t want to give people the same choice she has, that is the exchanges she has every year. She can pick and choose. So can I – I want 50 million other people to be able to do that also.

Fox:

Mrs. Angle.

Angle:

Could you repeat the question?

Fox:

Yes. The Bush era tax cuts are set to expire at year’s end. Without Congressional action, the taxes Americans pay on income, dividends, and capital gains will rise. I asked Senator Reid why he wanted to raise taxes, even on the wealthy in the midst of a recession.

Angle:

Well the books, the tax cuts need to be made permanent. If they’re not, we will experience the largest tax increase in the history of America. And with voting for over 300 tax increases Senator, we can’t trust you with our taxes.

Not only that – you came from Searchlight to the Senate with very little. Now you’re one of the richest men in the U.S. Senate. And on behalf of Nevada taxpayers, I’d like to know, we’d like to know, how did you become so wealthy on a government payroll?

Fox:

Senator Reid?

Reid:

Mitch that’s really kind of a low blow. I think most everyone knows I was a very successful lawyer. I did a very good job in investing. I’ve been on a fixed income since I went to Washington. I’ve lived off of what I made in the private sector. I put my five kids through 100 semesters of school, and I paid for every penny of it. So her suggestion that I made money being a Senator is simply false, and I’m really disappointed that she would suggest that.

And I will further say, if she wants the tax cuts made permanent for everybody, we have a deficit problem to worry about also. ** Four trillion dollars it would cost to have the def-, have these taxes extended in the future – that’s quite a load, four trillion.

Fox:

Okay let’s continue along those lines. We’re talking about the Bush tax cuts and this question is for you Mrs. Angle. It would indeed cost the federal government four trillion dollars over the next decade and almost double the deficit. Are you concerned that these tax cuts place an unfair burden of debt on our children and our grandchildren?

Angle:

First of all, let’s really talk about whose money that is. It’s not the federal government’s money, it’s our money. And when he says we’re squandering the federal money, the federal government’s money, it’s really squandering our money.

Those tax cuts will create that confidence that businesses need to go forward and provide those jobs. Right now, as I said before, they’re holding back because they can only see a climate of taxation and regulation. We need to give them that confidence by making those tax cuts permanent. If we do, then a business like the one in Reno where the senior partner is 82, if he should die, and these tax cuts aren’t made permanent, 55 percent of their business will go away and 33 employees will lose their jobs. We need to make these tax cuts permanent for us.

Fox:

Okay Senator Reid? I’ll give you a minute.

Reid:

We reduced the load of debt on the American people during the Clinton years. We had a paygo system – if you want a new program, pay for it or raise the revenue. As a result of that, we had the most successful economic splurge in the history of this country. We created 22 million jobs and reduced the debt by going on a trillion dollars as I said earlier. We can do this.

Now when my friend, and I say that seriously, President Bush came into office, he had a seven trillion dollar surplus. That was squandered with two wars, taxes unpaid for, and now we have, instead of a seven trillion dollar surplus, eleven trillion dollar debt.

We have to meet the demands of this country and pay down that debt. We’re trying to dig out of the hole we’re in now, we need to do that, we need to reestablish the paygo rules, and we’ve done that, that’s now the law of the land, we did that together.

Fox:

Thank you. And we’re going to go to closing statements right now. We’re running a little short on time. Senator Reid, you’re up, and you’ll have about 45 seconds, 50 seconds…

Reid:

Okay, gotta find my little notes here.

Fox:

…to read your closing statement.

Reid:

Okay, a lot of paper here. I have a few notes I made. Thank you, thank you very much, Mitch, for what you’ve done here. First of all, I think we found tonight that my opponent favors big banks, she’s against Wall Street reform, oil companies – she said BP needed, had too much regulation and that’s what went wrong there – insurance companies, it’s obvious from the discussion of health care how much she cares for insurance companies.

I have a different philosophy. I am for the middle class. Everything we talked about here, tonight, is as far as I’m concerned, jobs, -- the only way to solve the job problem is to create more jobs. Renewable energy jobs? She mocks them. She’s said they’re designer jobs.

I am a fighter. I will continue to fight for what I believe is best for the American people. We have a long ways to go. But we have made some progress, and I’ll continue to do everything I can for the people of Nevada.

Fox:

Thank you Senator Reid. And Mrs. Angle.

Angle:

People often ask me why I smile so much. It’s because I’m an optimist. Like Ronald Reagan, I believe in American exceptionalism. I believe that with God’s help, we the people have the solutions to our economic problems and they’re as simple as cut back on the spending, pay back on the debt and take back our economy by repealing policies like Obamacare.

We have the right contract with America: that’s our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights. We have the right message for America: lower taxes, less government regulation, more individual freedom and stop the spending. And we have the right angle for the U.S. Senate.

I’m Sharron Angle, and I’m asking for your vote.

Fox:

Thank you very much, we’ve come to the conclusion of tonight’s debate. Once again, thank you to Senator Reid and Mrs. Angle, thank you to Nevada’s broadcasters, thank you for being part of this event and don’t forget to vote. Early voting begins this Saturday, and Election Day is November 2nd.

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  1. Reid's campaign ads put the bar so low for Sharron Angle that all she had to do was show she doesn't walk around in a straight jacket with a lithium and thorazine infusion pump to win. You know someone's a true politician when even after being asked repeated times if that was a yes or a no he refuses to clarify.

    And the best thing was that Harry did it to himself.