Guy Benson

The only truly memorable moment of the hour-long debate was Angle’ s pointed suggestion that Reid “ man up,” and face the realities of America’ s entitlement crisis. The “ man up” comment, which has inspired political t-shirts and other flare, was a prepared line that Angle delivered at an opportune moment. “ I think Sharron really hit her stride after ‘ man up’ because it worked and [Reid] was already floundering,” the operative said.

Angle’ s aide said the campaign was “ thrilled” by the debate’ s outcome. “ We could not have been more pleased with our performance. Nevadans had an opportunity to meet the real Sharron Angle. She’ s a plain-spoken woman, who’ s not a career politician,” the aide said. “ She’ s an average Nevadan who’ s frustrated with the direction Harry Reid has taken our state.” Asked if the campaign was at all surprised by Angle’ s strong performance, this staffer said the bigger eye-opener was Reid’ s poor showing. “ As the Senate Majority Leader, he debates on the Senate floor every day. That’ s what he does. So we were more than a little surprised by how flat he fell. He was all over the place.”

As the race enters its final, frantic stretch, both Republicans expressed confidence about the direction the race is trending. “ If we just stick to talking about the issues, we win,” one said. “ That’ s why Reid is trying to make this all about Sharron, and other ancillary issues.” The senior Republican operative, who has been in politics for two decades, predicted an Angle win, “ absent some drastic change in dynamics.” He said polling, early voting, and the overall political atmosphere favor Angle, and adding, “ We’ ve built a reasonable turnout operation to rival [Nevada Democrats’ ], which is a machine. Of course, in a close race like this, you wake up in the middle of the night worrying if you’ ve done everything you can do to win. You never know until it’ s over, but I think we’ re in pretty good shape.”

Guy Benson

Guy Benson is's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography