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Nevada Republicans revive Harry Reid's 'bomb'

October 28, 2009 |  6:20 pm

In 1981, shortly after future Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid left the Nevada Gaming Commission -- where he had presumably made a few, ahem, connected enemies -- authorities concluded that his Oldsmobile station wagon had been rigged to explode when he started the vehicle.
 
(In mob-plagued northern Ohio, this was referred to as the "Youngstown tune-up.")
 
A Las Vegas police report described Reid – who reported finding the device while trying to figure out why his station wagon was running poorly – as the target of an attempted homicide. The bomb squad separately noted that the device was similar to one found in another former gaming commissioner’s vehicle.  In fact, a local paper referred to both incidents as “assassination attempts.”
 
And yet, nearly three decades later, some Nevada Republicans are questioning whether the attempt on Reid’s life was as serious as originally portrayed. This, to say the least, is an odd strategy. The party has far more serious issues to go after Reid:
 
Healthcare reform.
 
The economic stimulus package.
 
Clark County’s nearly 14% unemployment rate despite the economic stimulus package.
 
But last week, Sue Lowden, one of the GOP frontrunners in the race to challenge Reid, joked about the bomb scare with local conservative talker Heidi Harris. Lowden said she didn’t remember “Harry Reid’s bomb,” though she had been a news anchor in Las Vegas.
 
Democrats – relieved, we imagine, at not having to discuss Nevada’s woeful economy for once – immediately posted the clip online, adding their own commentary.
 
This week, Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons went a step farther on Harris' show, dismissing the explosive device as a “telephone book and a shoe box.”
 
“I guess unless Nextel who has about 100 billion phone books out there, and every household, would have a weapon of mass destruction in their house as a phone book,” said the Republican governor, whose approval ratings are even lower than Reid’s.

Reid’s campaign responded by issuing copies of the police report, the bomb squad notes and several old newspaper stories.  For the first time in months, no one was talking much about Reid’s chances for reelection next year.

They were too busy scratching their heads.

-- Ashley Powers

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