Earlier today, I spoke exclusively to Sharron Angle, the Republican nominee to challenge Harry Reid for the Senate seat in Nevada.  In the past few days, rumors have swirled that Angle is a crypto-Birther. I asked her “flat out” whether she believed Barack Obama was born somewhere other than Hawaii, and she replied, “No.  Is that flat-out enough for you?”  Angle says she “wasn’t dodging” the caller on the radio show now being parsed by the media, in which she replied that the Supreme Court had already ruled on that issue, but instead wanted to talk about Obama’s political qualifications and wanted to politely redirect the conversation.  Angle believes that Obama was born in Hawaii and is an American citizen, and also believes that those subjects are nothing more than a distraction that Democrats use to keep attention from their track record.

On joblessness, Angle apologized for a statement that “was too strongly worded,” regarding people who are currently drawing unemployment.  Angle also challenged Reid to apologize for his remarks as well — to the troops in the field when he declared the Iraq War lost, and referred to the smell from tourists at the Capitol Hill, among others.  “The real issue here is deficit spending,” Angle says, and argues that the US cannot continue to borrow money to spend on expanding these benefits.  Passing an expansion of benefits for which there are no actual funds will make the situation worse.

When I asked what Nevada voters will be most on their mind when they vote in November, Angle replied, “Their jobs and their homes,” because Nevada is “bleeding jobs at about 1100 a month.”  There are thousands of empty commercial buildings in the state, especially in Las Vegas.  The campaign has begun calling Reid “Ghost Town Harry,” because business and jobs are leaving the state.  They just went to the highest position for unemployment in the nation.  “That’s why Harry Reid wants to talk about Birthers,” Angle said.  “He’d rather talk about anything else.  Harry is dodging the issues by pounding me with anything flying through the air.”  Angle says that Reid needs to be pressed to defend his own record, presiding over a Senate that took unemployment from 4% to 14% during his tenure.

Angle and her campaign challenged Reid to do a one-to-one debate on national television, not on personal attacks but on “the real issues — the economy, the economy, the economy.”  Angle said she’d also debate Reid in the blogosphere and even suggested Hot Air as the venue.  I’d be happy to moderate that debate, but something tells me that Reid wouldn’t be terribly enthusiastic about that arrangement.