While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tries to fight off a tough re-election challenge from Republican Sharron Angle, he's struggling to convince Nevada voters that he deserves to be sent back to Washington.
In an interview with ABC News, Reid did hesitate to attack Angle, characterizing her as "quite extreme," with a "long list of negative hits." Meanwhile, he insisted that he doesn't bear any responsibility for the nation's economic downturn that has hit Nevada especially hard.
“You know that I had nothing to do with the massive foreclosures here. You know that I had nothing to do with these unemployment figures,” Reid says. “In fact, I've worked hard to change them. My job is to create jobs. My opponent says that is not her job to create jobs. And I think that is really wrong. I think it is my job to create jobs and I've done my best. Is there more that needs to take place? Of course, there is."
While dismissing self-blame, Reid stuck to an old talking point for Democrats, blaming former President Bush for Nevada's downward slide:
“For 20 years this was the place to come. When the situation occurred on Wall Street -- the collapse took place -- we were so high, we had so far to fall. And we're struggling to get back where we were. We have, as you know, the president has created, with Congress, three and a half million jobs. We have, because of what took place in the Bush years, lost eight million. So we have a long ways to go. But I think it would take a real stretch to think that I caused the problems with the economy.”
In a statement this afternoon from the Angle campaign, spokesman Jarrod Agen responded to Reid's accusations:
"Harry Reid is making crazy statements while claiming absolutely no responsibility for the economy and the jobless rate in his own state. Yet, by the same token, he wants credit for creating 3.5 million jobs somewhere else... Harry Reid needs to stop running from his failed record and start taking responsibility for what he’s done to destroy the Nevada economy. If the Senate Majority Leader has absolutely nothing to do with unemployment or the economy, why is Harry Reid always asking for credit for doing ‘more for Nevada?’”