Harry Reid's 'Elite'; Sharron Angle's 'Extreme': NV Debate : It's All Politics Sen. Harry Reid and Sharron Angle's sole debate saw no fatal mistakes from gaffe-prone pols. Reid harped on what he called Angle's extreme positions like wanting to privatize Social Security while she painted Reid as elite and out of touch.
NPR logo Harry Reid's 'Elite'; Sharron Angle's 'Extreme': NV Debate

Harry Reid's 'Elite'; Sharron Angle's 'Extreme': NV Debate

Nevada Sen. Harry Reid (right) talks to his opponent, Republican Sharron Angle, as moderator Mitch Fox from PBS looks on after their political  debate at the Vegas PBS Studios in Las Vegas on Thursday. Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Anyone who hoped Thursday night's Nevada debate between Democrat Sen. Harry Reid and Republican Sharron Angle would decisively shift the contest's dynamics one way or another, propelling one of the candidates to a solid lead, likely came away disappointed Thursday night.

Neither candidate came off as a world-class debater though that wasn't the expectation. Reid, the Senate majority leader, and Angle, the Tea Party-backed candidate, are known for many things but silver-tongued eloquence isn't among them.

In fact, if there was any expectation, it might've been that one of them would have made a substantial gaffe late in the campaign that would have diminished his or her chance to be elected.

But while there were nervous stumbles in the high-stakes match, neither candidate made any fatal blunders.

If one word could sum up the negative idea each candidate wanted voters to come away after the debate, the word "extreme" is what Reid sought to attach to Angle. He cited her past support for privatizing Social Security.

For her part, she wanted voters to view Reid as "elite." One piece of evidence for that, she said, was his residence in the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington.

NPR's Ina Jaffee nicely summed up the debate well in her Morning Edition report.