LAS VEGAS — In the ugliest ad so far in Nevada's contentious Senate race, Republican Sharron Angle accuses Democrat Harry Reid of helping to put Viagra in the hands of child molesters.
The TV spot is the latest in a string of scare-tactic ads flooding the Nevada airwaves in the final weeks of the dead-heat contest.
Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, has portrayed Angle as extreme and crazy, using her own words and policy positions to try to undermine her credibility. But that strategy has not pushed him forward in the polls.
A recent wave of inflammatory attack ads has helped Angle remain steady.
"Want to know just how out of touch Harry Reid is?" the female announcer says at the beginning of the latest ad. "Spending $787 billion on a stimulus that failed is a start. Or Reid voting to give illegal aliens special tax breaks and Social Security benefits is another big clue. But here's the kicker: Reid actually voted to use taxpayer dollars to pay for Viagra for convicted child molesters and sex offenders."
The ad concludes, "What else could you ever need to know about Harry Reid?"
The vote refers to the federal health care law.
Before it passed, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., proposed an amendment barring federal expenditures for supplying Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs to sex offenders. Democrats called it a political stunt aimed at killing the legislation. The amendment died.
The health care law does not single out convicted sex offenders.
Angle's campaign defended the ad.
"Harry Reid was so intent on passing ObamaCare that he was even willing to give Viagra to child molesters to do it," campaign spokesman Jerry Stacy said.
Previous Angle ads have claimed that Reid backed special benefits for illegal immigrants. Numerous reports have debunked the allegations, but the campaign continues to push it while boasting that linking Reid to illegal immigrants has swayed independents.
Reid spokesman Kelly Steele called the ad proof that Angle, "will do or say anything she thinks will help get her elected."
Reid was the first to go negative, unleashing a chain of cutting ads after Angle's upset primary win in June. But Angle, a tea party favorite and former state legislator, soon raised enough cash to fight back.
In other factually shaky ads, Reid said Angle supports sending jobs overseas and Angle called Reid the best friend illegal immigrants ever had.