The New York Times reported yesterday that Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle "has steadfastly refused to talk to reporters here," apparently following the advice of Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who has said that Angle wouldn't speak to the press for "a few weeks," until she is properly "prepared."
That standard, of course, did not apply to Fox, which hosted her earlier this month for a widely-panned softball interview on Fox & Friends and an appearance on Hannity in which she promoted her website and asked viewers for donations.
But apparently Angle couldn't hide from the actual media forever, and so yesterday she sat down with the dean of the Nevada press corps for what the Las Vegas Sun described as "a raucous 30-minute interview on 'Face to Face With Jon Ralston,'" in which "Angle was pressed to explain the positions she took during the Republican primary to a general election audience." It didn't go well.
And so today, Angle returned to the loving bosom of Fox News for what Fox acknowledged was a "rare interview." Angle herself said of the interview, "It's great to be on to discuss the defeat of 'Let's Make a Deal' Harry Reid."
Needless to say, Stuart Varney provided the softest of softballs. There were no follow-ups, no aggressive questions, just a lot of, "Harry Reid says this about you. How do you respond to that?" and a query about what type of conservative she considers herself.
Varney's interview with Angle stands in stark contrast to Ralston's. Ralston challenged Angle to explain her comments "that the citizenry will resort to 'Second Amendment remedies'" if they are unsuccessful at the ballot box, that Social Security should be "phased out," and that the separation of church and state is an "unconstitutional doctrine."
But the biggest fireworks came over Angle's comments on unemployment benefits. Angle repeatedly claimed that there are "jobs out there that are available," but people are choosing not to take them because they "are afraid to go out and get a job because the job doesn't pay as much as the unemployment benefit does," and so unemployment benefits should not be extended.
As any unemployed person will tell you, jobless benefits generally aren't enough to live on -- the average unemployment check is just $293 a week. Unemployed persons often cut back drastically, drawing down savings, selling their car or home and tapping into retirement accounts. The underlying issue here is that there aren't enough jobs for people who need them: There are 15 million unemployed persons in the United States, around five for each available position. Given those metrics, cutting benefits would just take away subsistence-level funds from the already financially stressed.