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LAS VEGAS - U.S. Senator Harry Reid and challenger Sharron Angle met in their first and only face-to-face debate Thursday night. The race is one of the most closely watched contests in the country and an estimated half a million people watched the debate live.
Before the debate began, U.S. Senator Harry Reid and former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. Once the debate started, the mood changed.
"Man up Harry Reid. You need to understand that we have a problem with Social Security," Angle said to Reid.
Reid fired back, defending his work in Washington. "Don't frighten people about Social Security," Reid said. "These ideas of my opponent are really extreme."
Reid called Angle "extreme" throughout the hour-long debate. The former state lawmaker, meanwhile, portrayed Reid, a four-term U.S. senator, as a career politician. Angle also blamed Reid for Nevada's economic woes.
"Certainly this problem has been going on ever since Senator Reid has been in leadership," she said.
"There's plenty of blame to go around," Reid countered. "We passed Wall Street reform that will stop these greedy bankers on Wall Street from taking advantage of homeowners."
Reid said Angle favors big banks and opposes Wall Street reform. Angle said Reid can't be trusted, because she says he's raised taxes 300 times.
The two candidates later traded barbs on immigration reform.
"Immigration is a problem," Reid said. "We have a system in America that's broken and needs to be fixed. That's why in August of this year, I introduced legislation that was finally passed to do something about our borders."
"I think every state should have a sheriff like Joe Arpaio," Angle replied. "We should be supporting Arizona instead of suing Arizona like Senator Reid and President Obama have."
Angle argued for free-market health care. "We need to get the government out, so we can go across state lines to choose insurance companies," she said.
Reid said insurance companies are primarily concerned about profits. "We had to do health insurance reform to maintain competitive in the world economy, and it creates jobs," he said.
Moderator Mitch Fox asked Angle whether she believes a senator's job is to create jobs. "I believe that my job is to create the policies that will encourage the private sector to do what they do best, and that is to create jobs," Angle said.
"My job is to create jobs," Reid replied. "What she's talking about is extreme. We have to do this."
Reid promised not to raise taxes on the middle class. Angle then questioned Reid about his own wealth. "We'd like to know. How did you become so wealthy on a government payroll," she asked.
"That's really kind of a low blow," Reid replied. "I think most everyone knows. I was a very successful lawyer. I did a very good job investing. I have been on a fixed income since I went to Washington."
Early voting begins Saturday, October 16. Election Day is November 2.
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