S: Angle, who's a favorite of the Tea Party, is challenging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. But since she won the primary June 8th, she's largely restricted her interviews to Fox and conservative talk radio. Tonight, she'll finally answer questions about some of her more controversial views from veteran Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston on his TV program "Face to Face." NPR's Ina Jaffe reports.
INA JAFFE: There's a lot of curiosity about Sharron Angle. That's despite her long political track record in Nevada. She's organized grass-roots campaigns on such issues as home schooling and cutting property taxes, and served four terms as a member of the state Assembly, representing the Reno area.
JON RALSTON: She was just a fairly marginal legislator who didn't get much done.
JAFFE: Says Jon Ralston. He says she voted no so often that...
RALSTON: The joke in a 42-member Assembly where most of the votes are unanimous or nearly unanimous is that there were several 41-to-Angle votes.
JAFFE: As Angle has avoided the mainstream media, reporters have picked over her earlier statements, especially on conservative radio programs. During a call into Lars Larson's show, she argued that the purpose of the Second Amendment right to bear arms is to enable citizens to protect themselves from the government.
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SHARRON ANGLE: You know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies. They're saying, my goodness, what can we do to turn this country around?
JAFFE: But her conservative base is devoted. She's a small-government, tax-cutting die-hard. She's talked about eliminating the Departments of Energy and Education and the Environmental Protection Agency. And, when she was part of a candidate debate on Ralston's show before the primary, she had this to say about Social Security and Medicare.
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ANGLE: We need to phase Medicare and Social Security out in favor of something privatized. We know that the government never gives us...
RALSTON: So don't fix it. You're saying don't do any of these fixes?
ANGLES: I'm saying it can't be fixed. It's broken.
JAFFE: That philosophy earned Angle crucial support form the anti-tax Club for Growth and the Tea Party Express. But since she won the primary, she sounds like she's trying to moderate some of her positions. On "Fox & Friends," she called the idea that she wanted to get rid of Social Security nonsense.
ANGLE: What we need to do is personalize Social Security and Medicare so that the government can no longer raid it.
JAFFE: Some Nevadans see the influence of Washington in Angle's softer rhetoric. She did spend the week after the primary on Capitol Hill. Brian Walsh is the communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
BRIAN WALSH: She made a very good impression when she met a number of the Republican senators for the first time. She talked about what her campaign message was going to be, which is going to be focusing on Harry Reid's failed record as a leader for 27 years.
JAFFE: Jon Ralston says Reid's trying to make her so unacceptable...
RALSTON: That he can either turn some people to vote for him or vote for this anomalous choice we have on the ballot here in Nevada called none of the above.
JAFFE: Ina Jaffe, NPR News.
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