LAS VEGAS—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unleashed his first negative ad of the general election campaign Friday, depicting Republican Sharron Angle as a heartless extremist who would slash Social Security and Medicare for the elderly.
The 30-second ad airing statewide also reminds voters that Angle once suggested inmates enter a drug rehabilitation program devised by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
"Shockingly, Sharron Angle wants to wipe out Social Security," a narrator says ominously in the commercial. "She'd cut benefits for everyone."
"What's next?" the narrator asks.
Tea party favorite Angle won the GOP nomination in a come-from-behind victory Tuesday, but since that time Democrats have portrayed her as too conservative for Nevada voters.
Angle, a former state lawmaker, is not widely known in the populous Las Vegas area. The ad signals that Reid is eager to introduce her to voters in unflattering terms before she has the chance to run her own ads.
Angle is testing the limits of anti-Washington sentiment in a year when many voters are eager for change. She wants to abolish the Education Department and repeal the 16th Amendment that established the federal income tax. She has said Social Security and Medicare are "broken and bankrupt" and should be privatized.
Angle has said it's Reid and the Obama administration agenda that are out of the mainstream. She has said voters are weary of soaring debt in Washington and want a leaner government.
Her campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the ad.