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'Tea party' favorite Sharron Angle takes aim at Harry Reid

'Tea party' favorite Sharron Angle's challenge of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid includes controversial positions, statements, and affiliations that GOP leaders are having to scrub, explain, or make excuses for.

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At a press luncheon this week, former House majority leader Dick Armey (R) of Texas suggested that Angle (who was member of the Nevada State Assembly for eight years) probably regrets her comments about any need for “a Second Amendment remedy” to a Congress led by the likes of Harry Reid.

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“People in the public arena are often going to say things they wish they hadn’t said,” Armey told reporters. “I’ll bet you five minutes after she said that, she said ‘Dang! I wish I hadn’t said that’.”

On her visit to Capitol Hill this week, Republican leaders hustled Angle between closed-door meetings, avoiding journalistic entrapment.

Sen. John Cornyn (R) of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, found himself having to explain why Angle had once been a member of the Independent American Party, founded in Nevada (according to its website) because “the Republican Party was growing too corrupt and socialistic.”

Meanwhile, Angle’s campaign is hustling to put its own spin on her history.

“Until just a few days ago,” reports Politico, “you could find Sharron Angle’s policy positions on her campaign website – even ones as controversial as pulling the country out of the United Nations, privatizing Social Security and abolishing the Energy and Education departments. But no more…. her website has been scrubbed.”

Now, the main message on Angle’s website is a bid to raise $1 million in campaign funds. She’ll need that and a lot more. Reid plans to spend between $20 million and $25 million on his reelection campaign.

But at this point, Angle – riding the wave of tea party enthusiasm for ousting establishment incumbents – appears to have at least an even chance of beating Reid.

"Angle can be competitive simply because a big part of this race is about Reid," Jennifer Duffy, senior editor of the Cook Political Report told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. But as for Reid, Ms. Duffy added, “He must feel like it's Christmas. He got exactly the candidate he wanted, someone with a record that provides plenty of fodder to exploit."

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