Sharron Angle launched a new website Thursday, scrubbed of several proposals that Sen. Harry Reid's campaign has attacked, such as closing the Education Department and developing Yucca Mountain as a reprocessing site for spent nuclear fuel.
Most of the Republican Senate candidate's other positions were trimmed or toned down, including on Social Security. Her website no longer calls for the system to be "transitioned out," although Angle still proposes a major shift.
She says she wants to continue paying benefits owed to seniors and other recipients, while allowing young workers to open "personal" retirement accounts.
It's clear from Angle's public statements that she still stands behind her staunch conservative ideas that the federal government is too big and its spending and some agencies should be cut. But the new website softens her views for the general election and focuses on less controversial means.
The new website "will be instrumental in the battle against Harry Reid and the Democrat's political machine," Angle said in an e-mail announcing the re-launch of www.sharronangle.com.
The Reid campaign accused Angle of "seeking to hide her extreme and dangerous agenda from Nevada voters" by removing 75 percent of the "issues" section.
For comparison, the Reid campaign re-launched Angle's old website at www.TheRealSharronAngle.com.
"Obviously, Sharron Angle's new handlers are as alarmed by the prospect of promoting Angle's extreme and dangerous agenda for Nevada as most mainstream voters will be when they learn her true views," Reid campaign spokesman Kelly Steele said in a statement.
Angle campaign spokesman Jerry Stacy said the website makeover was cosmetic.
"Nothing has changed about Sharron Angle," he said. "The main issue that concerns Nevadans is this poor economic climate that Harry Reid has created. And rather than debate on the real issues that concern Nevadans, he would rather hide behind his attack ads. The people of Nevada deserve better."
Angle took down her old website on June 9, the day after her GOP primary victory. She replaced it with a page asking people to donate money, and about $1,380,000 has come in.
For the redesign, Angle hired the same media company, The Prosper Group, that helped Republican Scott Brown raise $12 million and win the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts.
On her new website, Angle no longer directly argues that the Education Department should be "eliminated," but she makes it clear she still believes in little or no federal involvement.
"Sharron believes education decisions are best made at the state and local level by parents and teachers who are invested in the lives of the children whom they have been tasked with teaching. Sharron supports putting that money as close to the state and local level as possible," the website says.
On energy, Angle's new website skips discussion of Yucca Mountain altogether. And she replaces a call for repealing regulations that prohibit off-shore drilling with a slap at the U.S. government for not enforcing the rules that she now argues could have prevented the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.
"America's policy should be to enforce the rules and regulations currently on the books with respect to off shore drilling," her website says. "The recent oil blowout in the Gulf occurred because BP took a high-risk approach in its drilling program while cutting corners, as opposed to the low-risk approach other companies also drilling in the Gulf have taken without incident."
On Social Security, the new and old websites both emphasize protecting those who already have paid into the system, but Angle now focuses on how to keep it fiscally sound while letting younger workers opt out in favor of opening their own personal retirement accounts.
"We must keep the promise of Social Security by redeeming the 'IOU's' that have been written to the Social Security Trust Fund and then putting that money in a lock box that cannot ever be raided again by Washington politicians. The only way we pay for it is by cutting spending," the website says. "We should also create personalized accounts for the next generation that cannot be raided."
Contact Laura Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2919.