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Ensign throws Reid lifeline, Dems toss Ensign overboard

One day after embattled Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., spoke in support of his embattled colleague Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the state’s Democratic party sent out an e-mail attacking Ensign as a liar and more interested in protecting insurance company profits than helping sick Nevadans.

The e-mail from the Nevada State Democratic Party was in advance of a planned Ensign town hall meeting today in Reno to discuss health care with the public. A similar event is scheduled tomorrow in Las Vegas. It stated, in part: "Throughout this debate, Sen. John Ensign has resorted to lies and scare tactics to try to persuade Nevadans that health insurance reform is bad for them. Expect more of the same – myths, Republican talking points and Tea Party rhetoric – tonight in Reno. That’s because Ensign is content to sit by while costs go up for those who can afford health insurance and 220 Nevadans who can’t afford insurance lose their coverage every day." And later stated: "Like Republicans nationwide, Sen. Ensign is more interested in protecting insurance company profits and the status quo – which spells death for 40,000 Americans every year – than in the health of his constituents."

The attack comes just one day after Ensign was among the first Republicans to offer Reid support in the wake of a controversy that began with Reid being quoted referring to President Barack Obama’s lack of "negro dialect."

When other Republicans were on the attack, Ensign said on talk radio: "I don’t know what his intentions were but I take Senator Reid at his word," Ensign said. "I think his apology was sincere and he regretted how his comments were taken."

"I just think we need to get away from these politics of gotcha-ism," Ensign said. He blamed Democrats for "what they did to Trent Lott", and "we shouldn’t do the same thing to Senator Reid."

The entire statement from the Nevada State Democratic Party, which includes a breakdown of statements by Ensign it refers to as lies, can be found here.

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