Reid: Don't blame me for Nevada's high unemployment rate

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday expressed confidence in his prospects for reelection and said that voters should not blame him for economic woes in his state and around the country. 

In a wide-ranging interview with ABC News that aired on an afternoon webcast, Reid said that he has worked hard as majority leader to create jobs and should not be held accountable for Nevada and the nation's continuing economic woes.

ADVERTISEMENT
"It would take a real stretch to think I caused the problems with the economy, and that's what she is trying to do," Reid said referencing his GOP opponent, Sharron Angle. "You know that I have nothing to do with those unemployment figures, in fact I have worked hard to change them ... I think it is my job to create jobs.

"As you know, I tried to do a lot of things to stop the Bush red spending" that left the nation with a ballooning budget deficit, Reid said. "I don't have any hand in what took place during the Bush administration — I tried to rein that in."

Reid added that he has "worked really hard" during the Obama administration to jump-start the economy and that the situation is beginning to improve.

Nevada, with 14.3 percent unemployment, has one of the highest jobless rates in the country. It also is the epicenter of the housing crisis, with 68 percent of mortgaged properties under water, according to some statistics. 

That's put Reid, the highest-ranking Democratic senator, in danger of losing his seat. But the GOP primary victory by former state assemblywoman Angle, a Tea Party favorite, has appeared to hand Reid a better opportunity to win reelection. 

Polls show Reid and Angle locked in a tight race. Angle has blamed Reid as Senate Democratic leader for failing to bring the economy out of its recession. But Reid has aggressively pushed back against Angle, calling her extreme and unfit to serve in the Senate.

"Sharron Angle has a history of voting no on everything," Reid said, at one-point explaining that he has "not found anyone that thinks she is an accomplished legislator."

"She hasn't added one positive thing to this debate," he added, saying that "it isn't very hard to do" to paint her as extreme.

The veteran senator took aim at Angle's critical comments about federal agencies and entitlement programs such as Social Security and veterans benefits. He also rejected a claim she made last year that there are "domestic enemies" within "the walls of the Senate and Congress."

"There isn't a Democrat or a Republican that I know of that is an enemy of the republic," he said.

Reid refused to directly predict a victory in November, but said he is comfortable with the state of his campaign.

"I'm not a person who boasts or brags, 'I have the best campaign in the state of Nevada, I have the best campaign in the country.'"