The Las Vegas Sun reports:
Angle: “I’m not sure I can win” if Ashjian’s in, nat’l GOPers “have lost their principles,” need to “leave me alone”
That’s just some of what GOP Senate nominee Sharron Angle said during a meeting Wednesday evening with Tea Party of Nevada candidate Scott Ashjian and Tea Party of Nevada Chairman Sid James at the home of Richard Ziser, who lost to Harry Reid in 1994 and now is an adviser to the Angle campaign and also participated in the conversation.
A tape of the 38-minute meeting that I have obtained provides a rare window into the kinds of discussions that take place during campaigns behind closed doors, redolent of the authenticity that disappears in public or in TV ads.
The conversation reveals Angle almost desperate to show Ashjian they are like-minded, that they both disdain the major parties, but insistent that the Tea Party of Nevada contender could help Reid win if he doesn’t embrace her candidacy. Ashjian emphasizes he believes a third party is the only way and that he believes he can garner a fifth of the vote, which seems fantastically optimistic, to put it mildly.
Angle expresses disdain for the national GOP, which she says she now has “in a box” because she won the primary, which caused the DC types after her June 8 victory to still be “moaning and groaning and weeping and gnashing teeth over Sue Lowden.” Later, she tries to persuade Ashjian to endorse her because she will have “juice” he can tap into to get access to Sens. Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn and Mitch McConnell.
I can just hear it now: The woman who calls the majority leader “Let’s Make a Deal Harry Reid” becomes “Let’s Make a Deal Sharron Angle”
At the meeting’s outset, Ashjian seems open to a deal, suggesting if he can get an apology from the Tea Party Express, “we can get on board.” He claims he does not want money, wants the lawsuits about his candidacy to go away – remember those voicemails from GOP lawyer Cleta Mitchell posted elsewhere on my blog suggest she was trying to “settle” something with him. By the end of the meeting, it’s clear this attempted backroom bargain is going nowhere – and I’m not sure Ashjian ever wanted it to.
There’s a lot more, too, including:
—-Angle’s open disgust with her own party’s leaders and principles (or lack thereof)
—-James’ obvious abandonment of Ashjian’s candidacy and insistence that Angle will lose unless he withdraws and that there is still time to get his name off the ballot
—-Some brief trashing of Sen. John Ensign by Ziser and Ashjian
—-Ashjian’s claims of physical threats and of being followed
—-Angle’s agreement with him that both major parties are “corrupt”
—-Angle’s claim to have taken over the Washoe County Republican Party and having her “guys” in the Clark County GOP
—-Her promise to deliver to Ashjian “anything I can personally,” including an apology from the Tea Party Express after the election.
It is a unique and quite entertaining fly-on-the-wall look inside a campaign.
I have posted an audio file of the meeting at right and below are some snippets of the conversation. As you will hear if you listen to the audio, some of what Angle says is muffled, but I have listened to the tape four times and extracted as much as I could. (Ashjian is slated to be on “Face to Face” on Monday to discuss the taping and the conversation.)
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