Ensign: This might be the year right-wing works


Not that she's asked, but Sen. John Ensign offered some advice today as Sharron Angle embarks on her bid to unseat Sen. Harry Reid.

Taking on the Senate majority leader is the big leagues, and Ensign said Angle must brace herself and "become very disciplined in her message."

"She is going to be scrutinized a lot more closely and she will be under attack from a lot of different angles," Ensign said. "Labor unions will spend huge amounts. Senator Reid will spend huge amounts. Other special interest groups will attack her. She is going to have to work harder than she has ever worked before, and she is a hard-working woman."

Out of the box, Democrats are playing up Angle's positions in favor of abolishing federal agencies, repealing health care reform, pulling out of the United Nations and privatizing Social Security, portraying the former Reno assemblywoman as a right wing extremist.

"She is very conservative," Ensign said. "But to me people are looking for that this year. When you are running trillions and trillions of dollars in debt people are looking for fiscal responsibility and I think that has got to be one of her biggest things."

Angle ran a mom-and-pop campaign during the primary, relying on thousands of dollars in outside advertising paid by the Tea Party Express and the Club for Growth to sell her.

"I expect she will get a lot more help now (from the Republican Party)," Ensign said "She can still run as an outsider and should run as an outsider, that is what people want today.... but you do need to have a good organization."

And Reid has his own problems, Ensign said.

He said it was notable that almost a quarter of the voters in the Democratic primary voted not for the incumbent but for minor candidates or "none of the above" on the ballot.

"That shows dissatisfaction (with Reid) even within the Democrats," said Ensign, who said he pointed out that statistic at a luncheon with other Republican senators.

"Don't count Senator Reid out, he is very tough," Ensign said. "But at the same time there is such an anti-Washington fervor out there that you can tap into that, especially because Senator Reid is the majority leader so he represents Washington."

"This is the year you can upset the majority leader of the United States Senate," Ensign said. "Absolutely."

As for Ensign's role in the election, likely there will be none. He has become politically radioactive while under investigation on a range of ethics and criminal allegations stemming from the extramarital affair he acknowledged last June.

"I want to help and not hurt," Ensign said. "Whatever way the campaigns think I can be helpful to them I want to help."

There were no takers during the Republican primaries, and no sign of any takers so far in the general election.