When Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons said recently "I’ve never backed down from a fight or surrendered in my life and I do not intend to start now," he wasn’t kidding.
On Wednesday Gibbons demonstrated his never surrender attitude as it applies to health reform legislation in the U.S. Senate.
For the second time this week Gibbons sent out a lengthy press release bashing reform in general and Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., specifically.
At the end he pledged to press attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto to inquire into whether a reform requirement for people to buy health insurance is constitutional, a line of attack Republicans like Sen. John Ensign of Nevada and others have taken up recently.
In addition to questioning the legality of reform, Gibbons attacked Reid’s methods and character: “Senator Reid is openly buying votes to pass his bill that will crush Nevada’s working families. We have read the bill and I still firmly believe Senator Reid is wishing Nevadans a Merry Christmas with a smirk on his face and a knife in our backs.”
Gibbons also wrote: "Senator Reid is way out of line with his ‘payoffs’ to Senators and Reid should read his own bill before he spouts off about the damage his work will do to Nevada families.”
Masto spokeswoman Edie Cartwright said there’s been no formal notice from Gibbons beyond the press release.
"We’ve received no requests along those lines. He put out the release but he sure hasn’t asked us the question," Cartwright said.
She added if Gibbons does formally seek input from Masto, the Democratic attorney general would listen.
"We would work with the governor if he asked to meet with the attorney general," Cartwright said.
Jon Summers, a spokesman for Reid, says Gibbons is more interested in scoring political points than helping Nevadans who get sick.
Summers wrote in response to Gibbons’ attack: "Jim Gibbons has made it very clear that his plan is to continue using taxpayer dollars to fund political hits on Sen. Reid by parroting the national Republican Party’s talking points. As the governor of a state with the second highest rate of uninsured in the country, this self-proclaimed fiscal conservative thinks it’s fine for taxpayers to foot the bill for people whose only option to see a doctor is in the Emergency Room. Gibbons thinks it’s just fine for insurance companies to drop people because they got sick. Gibbons would rather 24,000 small businesses not receive the tax credit Sen. Reid included to help make it more affordable for them to provide insurance to their employees. And while Nevada families are scraping to get by, he thinks it’s better for them to miss out on a $1,600 savings on their insurance premiums. Maybe this shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, after all this is the same governor who wanted to turn down federal funding for unemployment. Obviously when Nevadans are in need, Jim Gibbons would rather play politics than help our struggling families."