U.S. Sen. Dean Heller told the Reno Gazette-Journal‘s Ray Hagar that he wouldn’t criticize his Democratic opponent, even after airing a critical anti-Berkley ad in which Heller’s voice says “I approve this message.”
“What entertains me about local reporters is that they are criticizing me for not criticizing my opponent,” Heller said, according to a blog post written by Hagar. “That is what this is all about. They want me to criticize so they can make headlines and write stories. And I want to keep the focus of this campaign on jobs and the economy. That’s what it should be about.”
Heller last month declined to comment to reporters asking him about an attack ad he posted shortly after the House Ethics Committee voted unanimously to launch a formal investigation of Berkley for allegedly using her office to benefit her husband, who is a kidney doctor. Contrary to Heller’s assertion, headlines and stories were written, only about his unwillingness to repeat the allegations his campaign made in his ad.
You know how it is: We local reporters will find a way to entertain ourselves, and apparently Heller, one way or another.
But Heller didn’t distance himself from his own ads in his interview with Hagar.
“Having said that [about not criticizing Berkley], all of my campaign ads are true,” Heller said. “Those ads in the campaign are true. But at the end of the day, what this election is about, in the next 89 days, is how can we get more Nevadans back to work, how can we turn this economy around, how can we help families stay in their homes and how can we stop the bank foreclosures that we have in this state? We are at the highest (point) of all of those lists. That should be the priority, not whether or not I am criticizing my opponent.”
So, the question remains: If all of Heller’s ads are true, why would he not repeat true statements to local reporters? Or, if he’s too gentlemanly or too skittish to criticize Berkley himself, why not say something along these lines: “Look, it’s not me saying Berkley has done wrong. It’s the Nevada Republican Party that filed the complaint, which was vetted by the Office of Congressional Ethics, and reviewed by a bipartisan House Ethics Committee, which voted unanimously to proceed with an investigation. The non-partisan group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington listed gave her a ‘dishonorable mention’ on the group’s ‘most corrupt’ list. I had nothing to do with any of that. And don’t forget, these charges originated not with me, not with the Nevada GOP but with the New York Times, not exactly a bastion of right-wing thought!”
(Indeed, Heller did tell Hagar to read the Times piece linked above.)
Now, am I asking too much, or am I just looking to make a headline and write a story? Oh, wait, I made a headline and wrote a story anyway, didn’t I?