The Fix: Sharron Angle bites back

By Chris Cillizza
Friday, August 13, 2010; 10:54 AM

1. Former Nevada Assemblywoman Sharron Angle is up with a new television ad pledging to "save" Social Security and accusing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) of "raiding" the retirement trust fund.

"We have a contract with our seniors who have put into Social Security in good faith," Angle says in the ad. "I'd like to save Social Security by locking the lock box, putting the money back into the trust fund so the government can no longer raid our retirement."

Angle's ad comes after weeks of taking on water on the issue as Reid has repeatedly slammed her for past comments on Social Security. One Reid ad featured Angle saying "we need to phase Medicare and Social Security out."

Jarrod Agen, communications director for Angle, painted the ad as part of a "process of laying out the clear choices in this race" but the campaign's decision to re-address her position on Social Security suggests Reid's attacks have hurt her.

"The fact of the matter is that she has been very clear for a long time that she opposes Social Security and wants to kill it," Reid adviser Jon Summers said. "While she is trying to rewrite history by saying that's not what she said, there is a much longer record of her previous position."

The back and forth on the issue in Nevada is a microcosm of what Democrats hope will be a broader debate in races around the country about what to do next on Social Security.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary, which is tomorrow, of Social Security becoming law, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has released a scorecard documenting 13 Republican Senate candidates who have expressed support for some form of privatization of the retirement system.

The Democratic National Committee is launching a coordinated effort of their own to put Republicans on the spot about whether Social Security should be privatized -- including a new web video and a conference call with DNC Chairman Tim Kaine and James Roosevelt, the grandson of President Franklin Roosevelt who signed the measure into law.

Social Security is always a potent political issue but especially so in midterm elections where older voters -- to whom this issue is of critical importance -- comprise a larger segment of the overall electorate. (Older voters always vote.)

President George W. Bush's failure to pass a reform of the system played a role -- how much of one can be debated -- in the Democratic takeover of the House and Senate in 2006 and Democrats are hoping it will mitigate their expected losses in this midterm.

It may be the party's best (last?) hope to change the course of an election that is looking increasingly grim for them.

2. For the first time in months, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is leading his free-spending rival, businessman Rick Scott, in Florida's Republican gubernatorial primary, according to a new Mason-Dixon poll.


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