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Nevada scuffle -- Harry Reid vs. the Review-Journal

In some respects, Sen. Harry Reid’s summer vacation went well: The GOP’s top hope for ousting him bailed, and the Senate Majority Leader squeezed in some photo ops with former President Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore.

But the Nevada Democrat with the tanking favorability ratings can’t seem to make a trip home without a few verbal oopsies:

He described disruptive attendees at a healthcare town hall meeting as “evil-mongers.” 

He got into a kerfuffle with a potential Republican challenger over whether she supported mammograms

He reassured Nevadans that the “public option” was not “set up for people who are losers.” Sherm Frederick

But unlike the other slips, there’s a complex set of rivalries behind the biggest headline-grabber: Reid reportedly told his hometown paper’s advertising director:

“I hope you go out of business.”

Reid has a contentious relationship with the Review-Journal, whose libertarian-leaning opinion writers are no fans of him or President Obama.

So, the Reid folks say, when he made his comment late last month before a Chamber of Commerce lunch, he was joking.

In fact, Reid said at the event that he hoped the R-J (as it's often called locally) remained successful – because of its joint-operating agreement with the more Reid-friendly Las Vegas Sun. The crowd laughed, knowingly.

A few days later, however, a column by R-J Publisher Sherm Frederick characterized the going-out-of-business remark as a threat that was “ugly,” “boorish” and “asinine.”

This stirred up a blogosphere brouhaha.

In turn, Sun columnist Jon Ralston – no fan of the R-J – basically called Frederick's account a bunch of hooey, and posted a picture of Reid and the advertising director as proof. Whew.

Whatever the truth, here are a few things which all parties can probably agree on:

1) Reid’s remark was ill-advised, and

2) his 2010 re-electionrace could be particularly nasty.

In the meantime, this may call for a beer summit.

-- Ashley Powers

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Photo: Frederick in 2006. Credit: Bryan Haraway / For The Times

 
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I fully support the Review Journal. I was born and raised in Las Vegas also. I am disgusted by Reid's comments. I am an educator and how can I teach my students their voices matter when we are represented by someone who opposes the 1st amendment when it doesn't serve him. I did not nor will I ever vote for him. I hope that the citizens of this city and many others stand up and rally all wearing t-shirts that state "If the government wants to stomp on my rights then I am proud to be an 'evil-monger.'" Maybe if we stop being afraid of government they will be forced to do their job. They are the servants of the people and not the dictators!

Thank you for being proud of freedoms we have in America. This is still America, right?


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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