FIRST TO CNN: Another GOP senator distances himself from Romney 47% comments
September 19th, 2012
01:41 PM ET
10 years ago

FIRST TO CNN: Another GOP senator distances himself from Romney 47% comments

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada became the latest Republican in a tight race of his own to distance himself from Mitt Romney's caught-on-tape comments writing off, and dismissing, 47% of Americans who will support President Barack Obama "no matter what."

"I have five brothers and sisters. My father was an auto mechanic; my mother was a school cook. I have a very different view of the world and as a United States senator I think I represent everybody, and I think every vote is important," Heller remarked in a hallway off the Senate floor.

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"I don't write off anybody," he said flatly.

Heller is in a tight re-election campaign against Democratic challenger Shelley Berkley, and was quite candid about the link between Romney's fate and his own.

"At this point I believe that if Mitt Romney wins Nevada, I win Nevada," said Heller.

Heller noted that he doesn't "make a habit of responding" to what Romney or others say on the campaign trail but that he felt compelled to speak out about Romney's comments that Obama voters believe they are victims and the federal government has a responsibility to take care of them.

"I thought this one was enough to let people know that I have a very different view of the world having grown up, as I said, with a father who was an auto mechanic and a mother who was a school cook and five brothers and sisters," said Heller, who went on to tell a story about his father needing government assistance when he was unable to work because of back surgery.

"[My dad] had back surgery and was out of work for 6 to 8 weeks. I think the government has a responsibility. One of the responsibilities of the federal government is a safety net. I believe in a safety net. I believe that's one of the responsibilities of the federal government," said Heller.

A day earlier, two other Republican Senate candidates – Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Linda McMahon of Connecticut– released campaign statements denouncing Romney's comments. Brown used similar language to Heller.

"That's not the way I view the world," Brown said in a Tuesday statement. "As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in."

As for Heller, he said he got 30,000 Obama voters in his last race for Senate, and clearly is worried about losing them.

He also sounded a warning CNN heard from other senators in the Capitol hallways – that Romney isn't spending enough time pressing the flesh in the states that matter – like Nevada.

His advice to Romney was "work hard – every single vote matters."

When asked if Romney is campaigning enough in his swing state of Nevada, Heller simply, and tellingly, replied "you have to ask him."

Also see:

– Eastwood: If they were 'dumb enough to ask me…'

– In new tape, Romney casts doubt on peace in Israel

– Obama camp wastes no time highlighting Romney tapes

– Hatch might 'die before his term' ends, opponent charges

– Biden on Romney tape: 'words speak for themselves'

Filed under: 2012 • Dean Heller • Mitt Romney
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Oh, hey, would anyone like to see a huge list of GOPers/Teatrolls posting things on this Ticker site about rats and sinking ships?

    September 19, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    Heller was appointed - he isn't even liked.

    Straight Dem vote in 19 days (early voting).

    Because it is NOT good to have irrational baggers trying to run our country.

    September 19, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    ""I would say yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy,""

    And how does that change ANYTHING? Yes, it was a terrorist attack if you go by the definition of terrorism...violence, political message and motive, etc. What about that didn't we already know? It's been very apparent for many days that a sall group of terrorists used the general public's protests as cover for their violence because it provided them with an opportunity to create the imnpression that ALL of the protesters were involved. The more that terrorists can convince stupid, angry, fearful Americans to stereotype and make gross generalizations about all Muslims, the more the terrorists win...they get to opint and say "see? we told you they hate all of us" and it helps their recruitment and the public image of fighters on behalf of Islam that they wish to project. You guys fall for it every single time.

    September 19, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. ShawnDH

    Buh-bye Mittens. Couldn't have happened to a bigger jerk.

    September 19, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. Gimmeabreak

    Who is Dean Heller and who cares what he thinks.

    September 19, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. b

    hey myviewis do u know what u talking about i think not

    September 19, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. JayVMN

    About 47% of the people would vote for Obama no matter what. No matter how bad the economy is, how much he blames Bush or anyone else etc.
    My brother is one of them...he would vote for Obama if Obama for for taking first born males...he (my brother) has no clue about issues. He's brain washed. His catch phrase is you need to vote Democrat...they are for the common Pelosi, John Edwards, John Kerry etc. are common folk...not many politicians of either party are.
    My other brother would vote Republican no matter what...
    So the 47% is true, goes both ways, and should not be a shock to anyone.

    September 19, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. prtyofstupid

    Heller is still the party of stupid, and yes I live in Nevada!

    September 19, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. DumbasRocks [R]s

    hey myviews.....almost all of your rant was NOT AT ALL what Romney actually said. Go back to the text of what he said. Your contribution is pure DEFLECTION. Not surprising, since even someone as dull as you can't defend what Romney ACTUALLY said. Tired old [R] ploy: when you can't defend your position, DEFLECT to something else that you think you can defend, even if it is a fairytale.

    September 19, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Anna B

    And they are dropping like the flies they are. Mr Heller, then I assume you would vote to support those safety nets in Congress? What, no? Yeah, typical republican hypocrite. They are all the same behind closed doors you know.

    September 19, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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