Rally in Reno, predicts Democratic gains
RENO (AP) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., not to be too optimistic, predicted at least a tie in the Senate after the November elections.
Appearing at a rally Wednesday for top Nevada candidates, Reid and Edwards said Democrats would make gains because of disenchantment over Bush administration policies.
Reid, D-Nev., predicted Democratic victories in Senate races in Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Montana and Rhode Island, and said Democratic candidates were in virtual ties in Tennessee and Virginia.
“On November 7 there will be a lot of surprises,” Reid told a crowd of about 400. “Some good things are happening around the country.”
Edwards was even more optimistic: “Come November, we’re going to make him (Reid) the majority leader in the U.S. Senate. People are so sick of scandals and corruption.”
Afterward, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dina Titus steered clear of a controversy involving her GOP opponent, Jim Gibbons, but Reid did not.
A 32-year-old Las Vegas cocktail waitress told police that Gibbons assaulted and propositioned her in a parking garage after the two sat with others drinking in a restaurant earlier this month.
Reid told reporters that the accusations would not help Gibbons, but he said Titus was going to win the race anyway.
“I think the dye was cast before that happened. I think she’s right on the issues and people are seeing that,” Reid said.
“I think that stories speak for themselves. It’s very clear that it shouldn’t have happened,” Reid said.
Titus refused to discuss the accusations.
“I’m not going to talk about it,” she told reporters. “I don’t think it says much about his character, but I’m going to talk about my race.”
Gibbons, a five-term Republican congressman, has denied assaulting Chrissy Mazzeo while he helped her locate her truck in a parking garage after the group left the restaurant.
Edwards, a 2004 vice presidential candidate, sharply criticized the Bush administration’s handling of Iraq, Iran, North Korea and the Middle East.
The administration’s “proactive stupidity” and lack of leadership is making the world more chaotic, he said.
“The world should naturally come to us. … We’re the one pre-eminent power in the world,” Edwards said. “You don’t lead by power alone. The world has to view you as a moral leader, and that’s not happening today.
“Americans know in their heart that we’re better than this and our government can do better. The U.S. is better than this and the world needs to see it,” he added.
Edwards also hailed Question 6, a ballot measure that would require Nevada’s minimum wage to be $1 higher than the federal government’s rate, currently $5.15 an hour.
“The federal rate hasn’t been raised in 10 years and you can’t live on $5.15 an hour,” Edwards said. “The measure would lift people out of poverty.”
Edwards later joined Titus, Carter and other Democratic candidates in campaigning in Las Vegas. He then was scheduled to fly to Arizona and Colorado to promote ballot measures raising the minimum wage in those states.
Edwards told reporters that he’s considering a run for president in 2008 and his wife’s health will be the major factor in his decision. His wife, Elizabeth, is recovering from breast cancer.
“My wife is doing great,” Edwards said. “Her health is good and she’s feeling good. Her book is No. 4 on the New York Times list.”
Also appearing at the rally was Jack Carter, the former president’s son who’s trying to unseat Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.
“Some good things will happen in Nevada on Election Day,” Reid said. “Jack is going to surprise some people. He gets out and talks to people.”