From POST POLITICS at The Washington Post:
Sharron Angle, Nevada’s newly minted Republican Senate nominee, arrived in Washington on Tuesday to court GOP powerbrokers and try to prove that she is ready to take down Majority Leader Harry M. Reid. But as she made the rounds of the senators she came to see, the anti-Washington candidate seemed to go out of her way not to be seen.
All of Angle’s meetings took place behind closed doors, beginning with a stop at the Senate Republicans’ weekly luncheon as the guest of John Ensign (Nev.). She hustled past reporters without saying a word, and remained inside for an hour and a half.
What the article doesn’t tell you is that the gang went over to their favorite haunt, McRonald’s! They had lots of fun, and they were looked over by none other than the ghost of Ronald McReagan. (If Sue Lowden had won the primary, would they have ordered Chicken McNuggets?)
(If I did this correctly, you can click on the image and then click on that for a larger version so you can see all the little details.)
Angle’s Washington visit illustrated one of the difficulties she now faces. Even as she reaches out to national Republican strategists and donors to compete against Reid’s massive political machine, she must strive not to appear as though she is losing her outsider “tea party” identity to the GOP establishment.
But some tea party activists have begun to doubt whether she is remaining true to the cause. “When you start making it a political thing and then it’s the name and the money behind you that wins, that takes away from it,” said Tammy Symons, founder of the Moapa Valley Tea Party in suburban Las Vegas. “And then you have a tendency to owe those people who come in and take over your campaign. That’s what we’ve been fighting against. It’s not okay just because it’s behind closed doors.”
A dozen reporters followed the candidate. She momentarily eluded them down a back stairway before the group caught up with her, continuing to pepper her with questions as she bustled through the halls of the Capitol into a light drizzle outside and into a black sedan.
Angle left Republican senators to do the talking for her.
“She’s going to run her own campaign,” Ensign said, when asked about Angle’s silent strategy. “This is a person who came out of nowhere and won handily in the campaign, and it shocked a lot of people. But right now, as I said before, she’s an outsider. That’s a good thing to be this year.”
Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) offered an assessment of her opponent: “The people of Nevada are tired of him. At least, that’s what I hear.”
And Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.) said he is confident that Angle can beat Reid. Coburn said she did not take questions from senators at the lunch. They discussed “getting her organization together.”
By the end of her visit to the Capitol, the buzz about her silence had grown so loud that Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.), chairman of the NRSC, felt compelled to come to her defense. He promised that Angle would grant “complete, 100 percent access” to the media in a few weeks, and acknowledged that she is not prepared for the enormous attention she has received, saying: “I don’t think anybody would be prepared for a race where 20 or 30 million dollars is going to be spent in negative advertising.”
From CQ POLITICS:
Angle ignored reporters’ questions upon exiting the lunch, although she smiled as a National Republican Senatorial Committee official escorted her to a waiting car.
“Obviously it’s early, but we’re glad to meet Sharron Angle. We told her we would be solidly behind her. We will support her efforts,” NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) told reporters after the lunch, just prior to a scheduled meeting with the former Nevada Assemblywoman at the campaign committee’s headquarters.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell , perhaps observing his unofficial campaign nonaggression pact with Reid, declined to comment when asked if he is confident of Angle’s ability to unseat Reid in November. The Kentucky Republican referred the question to Cornyn.
[S]ince Angle’s victory, the newly minted GOP nominee continues to be dogged by news reports about controversial positions she has expressed. She has said that she might favor privatizing the Veterans Affairs Department and that she supports implementing private investment accounts as a part of Social Security. That might explain why Angle refused to answer several questions fielded by a chasing Capitol Hill press corps Tuesday following the lunch and why — accompanied by NRSC Executive Director Rob Jesmer — she used a private stairway reserved for Senators and approved staff to make her way from the second floor of the Capitol to the first-floor exit and her waiting car.
The only question Angle answered was when she was asked if she was happy with how she was received by GOP Senators during the lunch. She responded to that query with one word: “Yes.”
“I hadn’t met her. I was impressed by what she had to say, and she did interact with several of our Members,” said Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman John Thune (S.D.), who defeated then-Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D) in 2004. Among the Senators Angle talked to at length was Sen. Scott P. Brown . Thune said the two discussed the Massachusetts Republican’s Senate campaign.
Although Reid is politically vulnerable, he is a tough and experienced opponent for Angle. When asked if Angle is ready for “prime time,” Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) answered, “Yes.” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah) said Angle confirmed his previously held high opinion of her, and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) called her “capable.”
“She seems like a very accomplished woman,” Sen. Johnny Isakson (Ga.) added. “If you’re asking, ‘Did she appear to have any flaws?’ I didn’t see any. She was articulate, she was considerate, she was respectful.”
But at least one Republican cautioned that Angle could jeopardize the GOP’s chances of beating Reid, who has been stuck at around 40 percent in most public opinion polls taken over the past year, regardless of his hypothetical opponent. Sen. Lindsey Graham , who commented on Angle only when asked by a reporter, said the views she has expressed on some issues could prove problematic in a general election.
“Some of the candidates who seized on this anti-establishment, tea party [feeling] to win their primaries are going to have a difficult time” in a general election where they must appeal to voters outside their conservative base, the South Carolina Republican warned.
“These candidates who embrace libertarianism or what is being billed as ‘hard-core conservatism,’” Graham said, “are going to have to convince the public at large they can come to Washington and not just be different.”
And that’s why poor little Lindseypoo wasn’t allowed to sit with everyone else, and the only thing he got to eat was Brussels sprouts.