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Sharron Angle Vs. Harry Reid: Framing the Fight

With Sharron Angle now set to take on Harry Reid in the Nevada Senate race, both sides are now trying to frame the race to their advantage.

Their strategy? Make it about the other side.

To that end, the Democratic National Committee today released a video called "Meet Sharron Angle...In the Extreme." (Watch at left.)

It highlights Angle's Tea Party affiliations and some of her more controversial positions, including abolishing the Department of Education, getting the United States out of the United Nations, and privatizing and/or phasing out social security. The video also points to an interview in which Angle seemed to suggest she might support banning alcohol.

Republicans, meanwhile, are suggesting the race is a referendum on Reid.

"From the beginning, this race has been about one person and his five-decade record in Washington," Brian Walsh, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, wrote in a memo released to the media. "...The Reid campaign believes that an old quote or vote by whoever the GOP nominee might be will trump his abysmal record? Of course he doesn't."

Sharron Angle
Sharron Angle speaks to supporters after winning the Nevada Republican U.S. Senate primary election race Tuesday, June 8, 2010 in Las Vegas. Angle will face Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. in November. AP

Added Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele: "In Nevada the unemployment rate is 13.7 percent, which is the second highest in the country. Harry Reid has been more focused on advancing the liberal agenda of government-run health care and cap-and trade than helping the Silver State."

Both sides have good reason to try to focus the spotlight on the opposition. Reid is extremely unpopular in his home state, with a sub-40 percent favorable rating and an image as a Washington dealmaker in a year where Washington insiders are decidedly out of fashion.

Angle, meanwhile, is the candidate that Reid backers were not-so-secretly hoping would get through the primary: The deep-pocketed Reid campaign is eager to spotlight the positions outlined above and paint their candidate as essentially the acceptable alternative to an out-of-the-mainstream Republican.

The deciding factor in the race may ultimately be whether the anger directed at Reid - Angle supporters were chanting "dump Harry Reid" at her acceptance speech last night - is offset by concerns about Angle, a relative-unknown to most Nevada voters whose image both sides are now fighting hard to establish.

More Coverage of Tuesday's Primaries:

Winners: Blanche Lincoln | Nikki Haley | Meg Whitman | Carly Fiorina | Sharron Angle | Roundup
Anthony Salvanto: What's Next for the Big Primary Winners?
Jeff Greenfield: California Vote to Alter Primaries Could Have Huge Impact
Bob Schieffer: Money and Melodrama Shape Primaries
Marc Ambinder: How Did Sen. Blanche Lincoln Pull Victory From the Jaws of Defeat?
Women Win Big on Primary Day
Interactive Map: CBS News Campaign 2010 Race Ratings

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