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September 17th, 2010
11:19 AM ET

Political Theater: Is new Angle ad beef or just bull?

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

(CNN) - If you want to rope and tie a western politico these days, perhaps nothing works faster than suggesting he or she is extending a big "Howdy, Pardner," to illegal immigrants. That is what Republican Sharron Angle has done in her latest attack ad aimed at Nevada Democratic Senator Harry Reid.

"Illegals sneaking across our border putting Americans' safety and jobs at risk," the announcer begins over black and white video of people creeping in the night, "and what does Harry Reid do? He comes out opposed to Arizona's tough new immigration law. Nevada families struggling with the nation's highest unemployment. Harry Reid? He votes to give special tax breaks to illegal aliens and to give illegals Social Security benefits even for the time they were here illegally. Harry Reid: The best friend an illegal alien every had."

That's a rough ride, as they say in rodeo. But how much is beef and how much is bull?

The ad is correct when it says Sen. Reid opposed the Arizona immigration law that created such a stir. It does not mention, however, he also joined with other Democrats in proposing their own federal legislation to increase the number of border patrol guards, add resources for chasing down drug runners and human traffickers, and provide more help for courts to process all the cases.

Nevada does, as the Angle ad claims, have the nation's highest unemployment. In July it was 14.3 percent. But saying Reid voted for special tax breaks for illegal immigrants is going out on a ledge. In 2006, Reid voted to table an amendment from Nevada's Republican senator (which, pretty much means it's done for) that would have prevented illegal immigrants from collecting tax refunds owed to them for work they did while here illegally. But that was not exactly a tax break.

And did he really want to give illegal immigrants Social Security benefits even for the time they were here illegally? That's a stretch. In 2006 he supported legislation in the Senate (which died in the House) that would give Social Security benefits (including back payments) to illegal immigrants once they applied for citizenship and paid fines and taxes. He also introduced a measure to strictly forbid any Social Security payments to those who remained in illegal status.

The Reid camp has branded this ad a bunch of "crazy talk" and "lies." The Angle campaign stands by it, and says Reid is "delusionally denying any responsibility for his actions."

We say the cherry-picked mix of facts and omissions may be standard political fare in Nevada, but it lands on our Sliding Scale of Truth between It's a Stretch and a plain old Tall Tale.

Earlier: Did Sestak vote to gut Medicare?


Filed under: Raw Politics • Tom Foreman
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. EFG

    Tom, you keep saying some statements are 'a stretch'. All you offer to refute the 'stretches' are Reid's 'proposed' legislation. He is an elected official....what can you point to in terms of execution to refute Angle's claims? You can't. Remember, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

    Her ads, while incendiary in tone, are not factually incorrect. Start being a reporter instead of a fanboy-partisan. I am no fan of the Tea Party either (I'm a lifelong Dem) but when I continue to see the media root and defend the Dems it sickens me and makes me more likely to vote the other way. Both Dems and Reps are the problem. If you're so politically savvy, why can't you see it?.

    September 19, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  2. jbloe

    Angle is a digrace to the US political process. She and her ilk need to go.

    Speaking of immigrants and jobs, was it not Bush telling us that they are taking jobs Americans won't do and that was justification for creating some kind of worker program?

    Cheap labor, at any cost, is certainly not beyond the Republicans.

    September 19, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  3. Chalupa

    What about Reid adding his DREAM proposal to an appropriations bill? This would fast track undocumented US residents if they go to college. What happens if they drop out? Some states will allow them to pay in state tuition but charge out of state US citizens a higher out of state tuition. For my son it was a difference of $12,000.

    September 19, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  4. Debbie

    Sharon Angle "NO I DID NOT"!!

    September 19, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  5. cardog

    Do you see what most of us already see. This lady and her ads can makes these claims then turn around and wait for the opponent to denie the truth of them. When checked it's found to be another bunch of lies. Yet, there are people right here on this blog that will continue to say that the lie is the truth.
    Sharon Angle being the best the Republicans have to offer should make you afraid, be very afraid, my friends on the right. You are near to drinking the preverbial kool aid.

    September 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  6. Terry P

    Harry needs to go. He's a disgrace to the people of Navada.

    September 18, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
  7. Rudy Gonzales

    Here's my take: If everyone in America would vote, I wonder just who would be in Congress. If I may – Let's all vote this November and see who's standing...Then we'll talk...

    September 18, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  8. Randy

    This is ridiculous. Everyone knows that corporations and the wealthy depend on illegal immigrants for cheap labor. If you wanted to end illegal immigration you'll need to incarnate those who do the hiring. This country has always used illegal labor and even slavery to support the privileged and will won't change because nobody wants to put their bosses in jail.

    September 18, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  9. Oldnuke69

    The ad is closer to the truth than Harry Reid's camp (or you) are willing to admit.

    September 18, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  10. davec.0121

    What do you expect – she's a Tea Partier. For them truth is what they want it to be (and maybe even think it is), rather than what really occurred. Truth is a mutable concept to them because there's no need for silly facts to stand in the way of their beliefs. Remember "truthiness?"

    September 18, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  11. Adam Farrell-Wortman

    In other words, she is lying while provoking hate and fear against people that have absolutely no power in our system.

    If you're going to rate adds CNN, please don't be so wishy-washy. Her intention to mislead voters is clear and should be called out for what it is.

    September 18, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  12. Planet Earth

    More lies and fear.

    September 18, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  13. Papa Bear

    Boy Sharon can dish it, but when it comes to talking to the REAL MEDIA, she won't. Why doesn't Sharon tell the good people of Nevada her plans to make sure that Illegals continue to work for BIG Corporations with out any checks and balances, they are the one responsibe for what has been going on here in America. Sharon only wants to make the rich even richer, with unfair tax cuts that only benifit the rich. Come on Sharon meet Harry in a debate so we can all hear how crazy you really are.

    September 18, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  14. nt22

    Nevada should be careful what they wish for - it might come true. Angle is another tea party extremist hoping to get elected to take away your social security, medicare, and medicaid. She doesn't care about you or anyone else. She is part of the extremist right social and religious conservative movement who in fact want to take your real freedoms away - for their beliefs only.

    September 18, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  15. Katoski

    If this kind of stretching, pulling and pushing of facts to save the face of Reid is the best you can do from this particular ad, he is indeed in big trouble. By the way CNN, you should label this sort of thing as "opinion" or something rather than put it in the list of genuine news.

    September 18, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  16. rice

    i find it interesting that ac should be defending reid. i thought the press was to inform rather than form opinion. perhaps you should check your own "tall tale" meter and report, not dally in nevada politics. hello from nevada!

    September 18, 2010 at 7:45 am |
  17. OCCent

    Do you really think Reid is sincere about the "enhanced border security" measures or is it just cover for himself so he can get what he really wants? Amnesty for all, change illegal to legal. See how this works? Now he can claim the "enhanced border security" solved the illegal immigration problem. Sad part is, some of us would actually believe him.

    September 18, 2010 at 12:20 am |
  18. clr

    seems to me like cnn is trying to back Reid by "explaining away" his actions. Now Reid is trying to tie up the Defense bill by attaching the DREAM bill to it – giving illegals citizenship if they go to college or serve in the military. I personally do not want illegals in our military – who could trust where their loyalty is?

    September 18, 2010 at 12:15 am |
  19. Brian

    Didn't they just give an example of everything she put on there? So then why are they saying it is bull?

    September 17, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  20. Free Thinker

    "In 2006 he supported legislation in the Senate that would give Social Security benefits (including back payments) to illegal immigrants once they applied for citizenship and paid fines and taxes."

    Umm... Where's the stretch? Seems fairly cut and dried.

    September 17, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  21. PGelsman

    As much as I dislike Harry Reid, Sharon Angle scares me.

    September 17, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
  22. Blakenator

    Good take down but remember, the ad is targeted at a crowd here in Nevada that is not interested in facts and logic when their fear/anger buttons are pushed. Sadly, this is ad is just typical of the dishonesty a majority of politicians use these days. Angle's schtick is being the "outsider" who will "clean up" the mess in Washington. What I have seen, though, is the time honored misrepresentation, obfuscation, stonewalling, and outright refusal to answer questions about pretty much everything which is the SOP of the garden variety pols in this country. That puts her in the category of "crooks and liars" that constitutes the Washington establishment she is so anxious to join.

    September 17, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  23. tvdog

    This is so biased. Harry Reid has been doing the same thing to everyone of his opponents for the last 3 elections and nobody says a thing about it. He has taken statements made by his opponents out of context and run ads consistantly to make them look bad. Harry Reid has been in office for over 20 years and where has that got Nevadans? Highest unemployement in the nation. Highest forclosure rate in the nation. Fifth highest food stamps users in the nation. He lobbies in NY for them to except the UFC taking away more jobs in Nevada. He stands by Obama as he tells the rest of the country not to go to Las Vegas. The man has nothing to do with Nevada except to get elected to keep his job in DC. He can't even read emails sent to his website. The man is a crook Vote him out Nevadans.

    September 17, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  24. Jerry

    Typical Tea Party tactics, if Angle somehow beats Reid in Novemeber it will show how dumb people in this country have gotten because things will be worse off with Angle in office

    September 17, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
  25. Gary

    It's a shame that candidates get away with bull crap like this. Most people supporting her will never question the claims in her ads and believe every word she says, no matter how ridiculous they may sound.

    September 17, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  26. Mike Speakman

    I'd say the ad is mostly correct. Any bill that helps out illegal immigrants in any way is a no no. Reid needs to be replaced.

    September 17, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  27. Dan

    I'm glad that CNN is doing a truth squad on this stuff, but the fact is, this lady won't talk to a single reporter!!!

    Call her out on it!

    September 17, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  28. Jason the EMT

    What a surprise: a Republican misrepresenting and over simplifying her opponent's position just to get a job she doesn't want to do, and will do poorly if she gets it. With the Republicans in charge during most of the last decade, the middle class wages went down by 5% while the wealthy got wealthier. I'm a 28 yr old working man and I will never vote Republican for the rest of my life. I suggest all working people like myself vote our economic self interests. That means vote for Dems!

    September 17, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  29. Henry Miller

    "But that was not exactly a tax break."

    How is arranging for illegals to pay less in taxes not a tax break? And how is arranging for illegals to receive Social Security benefits for work done illegally a "stretch?"

    What's a "stretch" is characterising Angle's ad as a "cherry-picked mix of facts and omissions."

    Careful, Mr Foreman–your biases are showing.

    September 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  30. WeToddDid

    It sounds as truthful as any political ad I've seen lately, and it's certainly not a lie when the facts back it.

    Why bother to explain your opponents rational to a bad decision?

    September 17, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  31. n8whit

    I hate to say it harry, but I agree with Sharon on this!

    September 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  32. Paul

    Basically a little stretching of the facts but hey – Harry is a big boy he can take it. Not like he has never stretched a fact....

    September 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  33. Louise Thomas

    Sharon Angle was our representative in the Nevada Legislature for, thankfully, one (1) term several years ago. As far as I could ascertain, she did nothing for the the part of Washoe Valley which she represented. Her Democratic opposite, Dina Titus, did far more for her area which affected us in a positive manner. She has no idea of what needs to be done nor is she capable of grasping the concept of the legislative process. Family concerns have made it necessary for me to move to northern Arizona or I'd be out there educating folks about this impostor.

    September 17, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  34. Mark

    The Tea Party may be something new but they're using the same old politics they rail against. The more things change the more they stay the same.

    September 17, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  35. patrick

    But the immigrant that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shall love him as thyself; for ye were immigrants in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. Lev. 19:34

    And it shall come to pass, that in the tribe the immigrant sojourned, there shall ye give him his inheritance, saith the Lord God. Ezek. 47:23

    And thou shall not glean thy vineyard, neither shall thou gather every grape of the vineyard; thou shall leave them for the poor and immigrant: I am the Lord your God. Lev.19:10

    In closing if it weren’t for the generosity of the occupants of the land were Moses fled to from Egypt, there wouldn’t have been any Ten Commandments or The Law. And if it weren’t for the hospitality of the Egyptians to accommodate Mary, Joseph , and Baby Jesus, we would not have had our savior today.

    TONE DOWN THE RHETORIC!

    September 17, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  36. John in Boston

    Come on.....the ad's general thrust is to argue that Reid is opposed to tough immigration restrictions. To argue that he wasn't because he joined with other democrats to support additional border troops is a real stretch. The Dems were virtually forced to act by public opinion polls.

    CNN is really splitting hairs on this one. Angle is clearly on one side of the issue, Reid is on the other. There shouldn't be any confusion about that.

    September 17, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  37. Mohangany

    I think it's crazy that everyone is talking and treating People like they are a bunch of rats infesting their home! "Illegal Immigrants, Aliens" what is this? Some "Melting Pot", as long as you don't mix the cheese with the chocolate, it's ok...

    September 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  38. Alan H.

    Question: Were you also concerned when the only thing coming out of the Reid camp was blatant and egregiously selective editing of the facts about his opponent?

    September 17, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  39. Blanchjoe

    Perhaps like a significant and growing number of Americans, I can begin to smell a "politaclly biased attack ad" within the first few sec's I see or hear it, and like the stream of seemingly endlesss car or beer comercials, I either hit the mute botton, or turn my attention to "off". In fact the more outrageous the ad sounds or appears, the more I find myself dislikeing the candidate or proposition that it supports. I am sure this is true for many. Much like citizens in the old Soviet State, who whenver they heard anything from their media organs, assumed it was a lie (even when it was not), I have fallen into the same response to our American Political Attack Ads of any kind regardless of which side they are sourced from. While dirty, and false political statements have existed since the beginining of American Politics itself, I find the ever present and all reaching nature of the modern versions, and the fact that they are supported by huge, HUGE financial resources that are not generated from the common voter to be more worrisoem than the content of the ads themselves.

    September 17, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  40. Pat

    But, just with the information in this article, it seems Angle's ad is correct. the farthest out claim is that he "voted for special tax breaks for illegal immigrants", when he apparently voted against "prevent[ing] illegal immigrants from collecting tax refunds" is, well, not that far out. Let Reid explain the difference clearly.
    Thanks.

    September 17, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  41. psgmichigan

    Angle is another one of the right wing "extremist" that are quickly becoming the Republican party. Careful whom you vote for in November. Like him or not, Harry Reid has brought millions of dollars to Nevada with his position, and Angle will probably alienate her comrads in the senate with off the wall ideas and comments. Too extreme.

    September 17, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  42. joe b

    These ads sharon angle are showing are just plain lies and distortions when your own ideas are extream and nobody wants them you resort to just makin g them up! nobody in their right mind would belived them unless your in the tea party .

    September 17, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  43. John Q.

    Yeah, and Harry Reid said there are NO illegal aliens working in Nevada... and he's credible??? Harry Reid doesn't represent the people or state of Nevada, he represents the Democratic Party progressive power structure, first and only. If the people of Nevada have any sense of the status quo not cutting it, they will show Mr. Reid the door...

    September 17, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  44. GaryB

    Yeah, Sharron Angle is what we like to refer to as reality and/or honesty challenged. And here's the funny thing about the GOP bill from 2006 that was mentioned... it actually acknowledged that many undocumented workers actually do pay federal income tax, SSI, etc. - a fact that many of Angle's ilk like to forget.

    September 17, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  45. Media Mann

    There is a silent majority reading, researching and watching as the candidates supported by special interest use political theatre as a tool to get votes. When one does not have a record to run on they will say and do anything to get attention. There comes a time when you can't hide behind ad's and rhetoric. That time is coming in October 2010.

    September 17, 2010 at 11:53 am |