Asked which Supreme Court Justice he admires, Democratic leader says Scalia is ‘masterful mind’

By John Byrne
Friday, October 15, 2010 8:53 EDT
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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and would-be senator Sharron Angle (R-NV) faced off in a heated debate Thursday evening in which the two candidates disagreed — almost entirely — for a full 60 minutes.

Among the more choice moments of their exchange included Angle telling the onetime boxer (Reid) to “man up” and admit problems with Social Security.

“Man up, Harry Reid,” Angle said. “You need to understand we have a problem with Social Security.”

Another notable moment: Reid said that a Supreme Court justice he admired is Antonin Scalia (Reid and Angle are neck and neck, and the Nevada senator has been pulling to his right in what perhaps is the closest race of his legislative career).

“This may surprise everyone — and I got a little criticism for doing this — I don’t agree with Scalia’s opinions a lot of times, but he is a masterful masterful mind,” Reid said. “He does good things.”

Angle, meanwhile, cited Clarence Thomas: “because he understands his constitutional boundaries as a judge in the Supreme Court, and that’s what we need.”


Angle, AP noted, “played the aggressor from the outset.”

In her opening statement, she said Reid was a career politician who lived in a fashionable condominium in Washington, D.C., part of a campaign-long attempt to cast him as out of touch with the state he has represented in Congress for decades.

Nearly 60 minutes later, she asked pointedly how Reid had started his political career with little money but now was among the Senate’s richest men. “How did you become so wealthy on a government payroll?” she asked.

Reid paused long enough to say he was disappointed at the implication behind the question, then said she had her facts wrong. He said he had practiced law before entering politics, and had invested wisely in the years since.

Repeatedly across the 60 minutes, he said she held extreme views, saying she wanted to privatize Social Security, favored closing the Education Department and wanted to turn the state’s Yucca Mountain site into a national nuclear waste reprocessing facility.

The full AP article outlining the Reid-Angle debate follows.

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