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Harry Reid: "I had nothing to do with" bad economy

By Felicia Sonmez

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, facing a tough re-election bid in one of the states hardest hit by the recession, said today that the economic downturn was not his fault.

"I had nothing to do with the massive foreclosures here," Reid said during an appearance on the ABC News/Washington Post "Top Line" program, adding that he also had no part in contributing to the state's dismal unemployment figures.

At 14.3 percent, Nevada's unemployment rate ranks the highest in the country. The Silver State has also been hit hard by foreclosure and bankruptcy; an Associated Press analysis found that Nevada is the most economically stressed state in the nation.

Reid's opponent, former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle (R), has placed the blame for Nevada's economic woes squarely on Reid's shoulders. Her latest TV ad highlights the state's record unemployment and charges that Reid "has dragged Nevada down to perhaps its lowest point ever."

Reid contended in today's interview that "it would take a real stretch" in order to think that he caused the country's economic problems. Instead, Reid argued, he worked against many of the policies enacted during the administration of George W. Bush that were to blame for the economic crisis.

"I don't have any hand in what took place during the Bush administration. I tried to rein that in," Reid said.

Recent weeks have seen Democratic candidates fall behind in a slew of economically distressed states. In the latest example of how bad things have gotten, a Columbus Dispatch poll released over the weekend shows Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) trailing their Republican opponents by double digits in the state's gubernatorial and Senate races.

But Reid has managed to stay afloat, buoyed by an $8.9 million warchest as well as an opponent who has done herself few favors by making some less-than-mainstream comments on the trail.

Reid took aim at some of those comments today, including Angle's remarks that Americans should consider taking up "Second Amendment remedies" and that there are "homegrown enemies" within "the walls of the Senate and the Congress."

He also criticized Angle's voting record during her years as state assemblywoman, charging that she "has a history of voting no on everything."

"I honestly have not found anybody that thought she was an accomplished legislator," Reid said.

In a separate interview, Angle defended her "homegrown enemies" remarks.

"Certainly, people who pass these kinds of policies -- Obamacare, cap and trade, stimulus, bailout -- they're certainly not friends to the free market system," Angle said.

With recent polls showing Reid and Angle neck-and-neck, expect the two to continue hammering each other well through the fall.

More from PostPolitcs and The Fix:

PostPolitics: Top 10 Senate races that turned ugly.

Will: Candidate Angle is not to be underestimated.

Rank and sort committees and candidates by campaign spending with PostPolitic's interactive tool.

Fix: The top eight redistricting battles of 2010.

By Felicia Sonmez  | September 7, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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