With all the talk about how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) may be in trouble this year, it's worth taking a moment out to consider why? Is it the health care bill? The bailouts? Or something else? In truth, a major reason really goes back to that great political saying: It's the economy, stupid -- and more precisely, it's unemployment.
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Before the financial crisis and the recession, Nevada had a soaring economy, built in part on two pillars -- real estate and tourism, both of which have suffered in the recession. In fact, the state has the highest foreclosure rate int he nation. And the state's unemployment rate has become the worst in the country, too. In the latest figures, it was 14.4% in August, up slightly from 14.3% in July.
Reid has said that the economy is not his fault. For example, in a recent ABC News interview he defended his record -- and turned the issue back on Angle. "You know that I had nothing to do with the massive foreclosures here. You know that I had nothing to do with these unemployment figures," he said. "In fact, I've worked hard to change them. My job is to create jobs. My opponent says that is not her job to create jobs. And I think that is really wrong. I think it is my job to create jobs and I've done my best. Is there more that needs to take place? Of course, there is."
Team Angle has jumped all over the issue. More often than not, the campaign's daily e-mails seize on unemployment and try to batter Reid with the state's poor economy. For example, the message from this past Monday declared: "Senator Reid has brushed aside the 200,000 Nevadans out of work and the worst jobless rate in the nation by saying that he has nothing to do with the unemployment in his state. Instead, Reid has set his priorities on a different goal this week - passing amnesty as an attachment to the defense bill."
And of course, the subject has dominated advertising in the race.