Nevada Senate Candidate Sharron Angle Sits For First MSM Interview, Survives


Last night Rachel Maddow spent her show hyping up Sharron Angle‘s first interview with the mainstream media since Angle won the Republican nomination for Nevada’s U.S. senate seat, currently held by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Angle, of course, has come into the national spotlight over the past few weeks not so much for her policies as for her controversial sound-bites and her unwillingness to give interviews the outside friendly, non-confrontational conservative media. Considering Angle literally ran away from a reporter last week, Angle’s first post-nomination outing in the mainstream media certainly sounded promising. But Angle’s interview last night with Jon Ralston on Face to Face turned out to be not as exciting as Maddow’s comedic popcorn prop would imply, though it did feature a fair amount of Angle’s shallow policy arguments and question dodging.

Ralston asked Angle to clarify her stance on Social Security given the seemingly contradictory remarks she had made in previous interviews about wanting to both “personalize” and “save” Social Security. Pot shots at the “thieving” Reid and his “cronies” aside, Angle proposed that the government’s role in the program should be gradually phased out by giving younger workers a choice between a personal/privatized program or the government run system as it is. Angle had little to respond with, however, when Ralston pointed out without younger works buying into the system, seniors would likely see a huge reduction in their benefits. Phasing out the government is a great conservative sound-bite but it’s not really plausible policy.

On jobs, Angle stood by her belief that unemployment benefits have “spoiled” American citizens by discouraging out of work Americans from taking lower wage jobs. Her welfare trap argument has some merit, but Ralston missed the chance to grill her on its appropriateness given how dire the economic climate is. After all, employers are less likely to hire over-qualified candidates for the entry-level jobs that Angle  thinks Americans are too snobby to accept. Still, welfare trap well explained. Angle gets points for that.

The latter half of the interview, however, went downhill for Angle. Ralston gets Angle to admit that her oft-quoted “second amendment remedy” rhetoric (used to suggest what might happen if conservatives don’t win the election next fall) was a bit strong. But perhaps the most unfortunate exchange for Angle concerned her stance on abortion. Ralston points out a fundamental hypocrisy in Angle’s political philosophy. If Angle is so against government regulation, Ralson wonders, how can she reconcile that with her pro-life views? Angle’s response utterly fails to undercut the vivid imagery of Ralston’s question, however:

Ralston: You want government to go tell a thirteen year old girl who’s been raped by her father that she has to have that baby. Do you want government to do that?

Angle: I didn’t say that.

Ralston: But that’s your position.

Angle: No, I always say that I value life. My position has always been that government should stay out of this matter. But in 1973 they chose to get involved in this.

Ralston: But you said this in 2010.

Angle: But since then [1973] there have been a lot of things that we’ve seen happen that have not been pro-life. And I’ve always been pro life. But what I’m saying to you is that the government decided to get involved in this. I’m just defending my position.… and I’ll always err on the side of life.

In the end, the interview could have gone worse for Angle, but it wasn’t the strongest start to her mainstream media campaign. The full video of the interview is below:

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