Angle Admits That Her Suggestion to Shoot Harry Reid Was “A Little Strong.”

NBC News 4 Reno

It was bound to happen eventually: Nevada senate candidate Sharron Angle sat down for a half-hour televised interview last night in Reno in which she tried to come off as someone other than the woman who clobbered the primary’s GOP front runners by cornering the wing nut vote. But the Reno NBC station’s political reporter, Jon Ralson, wasn’t buying it. Ralston pressed her hard about exactly what she meant by people having “Second Amendment remedies” against her opponent, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Ralston played the tape of an interview Angle gave with a conservative talk show host back in January in which she sounded a lot like a member of the Oathkeepers (which she wants to be):

You know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. And in fact Thomas Jefferson said, it’s good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years. I hope that’s not where we’re going, but, you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying, my goodness, what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you, the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.

“A lot of people think that’s pretty outrageous rhetoric,” said Ralston. He wondered if it meant that President Obama was a tyrant comparable to King George III.

“Well, I was speaking broadly, as you saw, about the Constitution, and that was the context of that rhetoric,” Angle replied. “I admit that was a little strong to say ‘take him out,’ but you know what I meant. I meant ‘take him out of office.'”

“But that’s not the only thing you said,” Ralston noted. “You said Congress in your view spends too much, bails out too many businesses, has a health care bill that you don’t like–that’s reason to take up arms essentially.”

Angle responded that people “are afraid of their government and what the government is doing with all this takeover.”

As far as political recalibration goes, this wasn’t exactly a full tack back to the center. And it didn’t really need to be. For one thing, advocating bodily harm against leading politicians is something of a tradition in Wild West Nevada. Moreover, a full apology would risk alienating Angle’s anti-government base and might make her look too much like the kind of wishy-washy politician that she supposedly hates. All she really needed to do was present her own spin on the truth. And she did that last night on this and most of her other most controversial statements. Now she can call it all old news and get on with the business of taking Harry Reid out. Or maybe just taking him out of office.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Give a Year of the Truth

at our special holiday rate

just $12

Order Now

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.