WASHINGTON – Voters don’t care whether Mitt Romney might have been a bully in prep school as long as they believe he can help them get back to work, Rep. Joe Heck said Tuesday.
Heck, R-Nev., dismissed as irrelevant a well-circulated Washington Post report that detailed Romney’s teenage years at a Michigan prep school, which characterized him in a less-than-flattering light.
On a call with reporters, Heck was asked whether Romney with his wealth and background can connect with working-class people.
“I think he is going to connect with people based on the fact he has a plan to put people back to work,” he responded.
Romney “has a plan to create economic growth, and these other stories that come up are collateral issues,” Heck said, adding that “the American public is smart enough to know a lot of things come out during an election cycle.”
“But really what people are looking for is a leader who can create an economic environment where they can get a job,” Heck said.
Heck, who is Romney’s campaign co-chairman in Nevada, spoke with reporters as part of a campaign the Republican National Committee rolled out in battleground states to contrast Romney’s promises to straighten out the economy with what it said were President Barack Obama’s struggles with “historic debt and deficits.”
Romney “will make the federal government simpler, smaller and smarter by cutting spending, capping spending and moving us toward a balanced budget,” Heck said.
By contrast, he said Obama continues to preside over record trillion-dollar deficits “and has been unable to come up with a budget that puts us on a sustainable course.” Heck suggested Obama’s embrace of gay marriage last week was a desperate try “to make the election about something else.”
Democratic spokesman Zac Petkanas moved to rebut Heck, saying Romney as Massachusetts governor “left his successor a billion-dollar deficit, increased taxes and fees by $750 million a year and left taxpayers with more per capita debt than any other state in the nation.”
“Representative Joe Heck should be the last one giving lectures about debt,” Petkanas said.
Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at firstname.lastname@example.org or
202-783-1760. Follow him on Twitter @STetreaultDC.