Democrats and their allies in the Nevada Senate race have been gearing up to make Sharron Angle’s position on phasing out Social Security and Medicare a big issue in the campaign.
The Alliance for Retired Americans, an AFL-CIO-affiliated group, has been staging a series of events of senior citizens throughout the state. An event was held outside of an Angle campaign office late last week, and a demonstration also occurred at the state Republican headquarters this week. Another event was also held Wednesday, at the Cambridge Community Center in Las Vegas, and another event is set for Thursday in Sparks.
We asked Alliance spokesperson Laura Markwardt about the organization’s push going forward. “It’s definitely a big issue for Nevada and nationally, as the senior population grows in this country,” said Markwardt. “Sharron Angle’s stances are obviously — she’s come out and said some very abrasive things, has some dangerous plans and would like to dismantle Social Security and Medicare.”During the primary campaign, Angle said that she wanted to phase out the two programs, for something private — which the Reid campaign has already made into a TV ad. She also said that while details would have to be worked out on the manner of implementation for privatization, “The idea of privatizing and getting out of Medicare and Social Security is not up for grabs.”
Since winning the primary, however, she has been finessing her views: “Well, that’s nonsense. I have always said we need to make the lockbox a lockbox, put the money in there for our senior citizens. They came here in good faith paying into a system and Harry Reid has put an IOU in for 24 years. He [Reid] has been raiding Social Security. What we need to do is personalize Social Security so the government can no longer raid it.”
Reid campaign spokesman Kelly Steele gave us this: “Sharron Angle’s dangerous and extreme agenda to kill Social Security makes George W. Bush look reasonable and moderate. Angle isn’t talking about the privatization schemes that were floated in 2005, she’s talking about eliminating the program entirely. That’s so far out of the mainstream that even top Republicans can’t run away from her fast enough. Given Sen. Reid’s strong record of fighting to protect and strengthen Social Security, versus Sharron Angle’s radical plan to abolish it, Nevadans will definitely be presented with a clear choice on the issue in this campaign.”
Here is a local TV news segment from Friday, showcasing one of the demonstrations: