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Tea Party Darling Angle Hits Back at Reid

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FILE: Tea Party favorite, Sharron Angle is running against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada for a U.S. Senate seat.

HENDERSON, Nev. -- Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle on Friday denounced Majority Leader Harry Reid as a "desperate man" who was distorting her conservative record while ignoring a state that leads the nation in joblessness, foreclosures and bankruptcies.

A day after President Obama delivered a mocking indictment of her candidacy at a rally in Las Vegas, Angle accused the president and Reid of pushing billions of dollars in stimulus spending while Nevada struggles with "an economy that is a disaster."

She called for repeal of the health care overhaul, lower taxes and disbanding federal agencies, including the Education Department, that she said had responsibilities that can be handled at the state level.

"I hold him personally responsible for what is happening in our nation," Angle said, referring to Reid, who is seeking a fifth term.

"Why would you believe anything he puts on television?" said Angle, who's faced a barrage of negative TV ads since winning the June 8 primary. "This man has been waterboarding our economy."

Angle's remarks come a day after Obama depicted Angle as a fringe candidate who would privatize Social Security and Medicare. Referring to Angle, Obama said "she favors an approach that's even more extreme than the Republicans we got in Washington. That's saying something."

Angle said Obama came to the state but failed, like Reid, to recognize its problems. "This is not a bright new day," she said.

She told reporters her positions are "very much in the mainstream."

The event attended by 250 Republicans amounted to a cheerleading session for Angle and other GOP candidates, but there was obvious concern for party unity and finances in a state where Democrats hold a significant registration edge. During a bruising Senate primary, the campaign of Angle's chief rival, Sue Lowden, questioned whether Angle could win in November.

"We don't need the fight inside our own house," warned Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

Angle told the crowd, "I need your help and I need a unified party."

There were conspicuous absences at the biannual event, including Rep. Dean Heller, state Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio and Lowden, a former state GOP chair who was long considered the favorite for the Senate nomination. State Republican Chairman Mark Amodei said he was unaware of any friction related to appearances by Angle or Steele, who has faced calls for his resignation since he criticized Obama's handling of the Afghanistan war and suggested that it can't be won.

The Nevada race has become a fierce competition between dueling narratives: Angle sees Reid as responsible for the state's reeling economy and a facilitator of runaway Washington spending, while Reid's campaign has stamped Angle as a loopy extremist whose proposals place her far out of the mainstream.

New ads appeared on TV from two independent groups Friday. Patriot Majority, funded largely by labor unions, lances Angle for her statement that it would not be her job as senator to create jobs. Angle has said she would work to create a business-friendly environment where companies grow and expand their payrolls. "Just another bad idea from Sharron Angle," a narrator says.

Americans for New Leadership, a political committee formed this week, is running an ad that defends Angle and calls Reid's ads "a lie." The Nevada-based group hasn't filed federal records yet disclosing the source of its funding. Its website says it backs candidates who support limited government.