Dems vs. Heck

The office of U.S. Rep Joe Heck, a Nevada Republican, sent out a news release on Feb. 29 at 9:02 in the morning on his vote in favor of S. 47, the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization. The release contained this statement by Heck:

“As a co-sponsor of this reauthorization last Congress, I was proud to cast a vote in support of this important bipartisan bill that provides crucial funding for programs, organizations and law enforcement agencies in southern Nevada that assist women who are victims of domestic abuse. This bill increases resources for criminal investigations, strengthens penalties against abusers to better protect victims, and funds programs that protect victims from both the physical and mental scars of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and rape.”

Twenty-six minutes later this statement arrived from the Nevada Democratic Party:

“After insulting Gabrielle Giffords by agreeing with a right-wing radio host who called her a ‘prop' of proponents of reducing gun violence, Joe Heck is clearly afraid of the damage his slap in the face to Nevada women has done to his re-election chances. The fact remains, Joe Heck voted last year to weaken the Violence Against Women Act and to criminalize abortion for rape victims. Nevada women have seen over the last few weeks Joe Heck's cavalier attitude towards violence against women and today's vote will not fool them.”

The Giffords reference deals with a Feb. 19 Heck appearance on an Alan Stock program. Stock claimed Giffords had been used as a “prop” by gun control advocates at the state of the union speech. Giffords “can't even clap her hands,” Stock said. “I think that is just a shameful act by putting her up there as a prop. I'm sorry, I really did.”

Heck responded, “I agree. In the cloud of emotion that's surrounding the unfortunate incident in Connecticut—that those that are anti-gun want to use that as their opportunity to try to limit our Second Amendment rights.”

Heck later backed away from his comments in an interview with southern Nevada columnist Jon Ralston. “Of course, there is no way that I think that Gabby Giffords is a prop. … Should I have come to her defense?” Heck said. “You know, in a fast-moving interview, in retrospect, I should have said something, but I didn't. I was just looking to get past that and talk about gun control in general.”