Nevada Representative Joe Heck (R-NV3) is back pedaling faster than a unicycler in the circus — for the second time. Back in November 2012 he pontificated about UN Ambassador Susan Rice, only to be brought back to terra firma by a CNN anchor. Now, he’s hit the ground again. Former Arizona Representative Gabby Giffords is a “prop.”
“Jon Ralston reports that Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) appeared to agree with right-wing talk show host Alan Stock when he said that Gabby Giffords, “who can’t even clap her hands,” is being used as “a prop” by gun control advocates.
Stock: “I found that to be nauseating and you know what else is nauseating too… putting Gabby Giffords up there…who can’t even clap her hands… as a figure.. of somebody being.. having shot her. I think it’s a shameful act putting her up there as a prop… I’m sorry. I really do.”
Heck: “Yeah, no I agree. I think again in the cloud of emotion surrounding Connecticut those who are anti-gun want to use that to limit their Second Amendment rights.”
There’s a problem with the back pedaling.
UPDATE: Just got a voicemail from Heck: “My statement was in reference to the idea of gun control grab coming out of Washington DC. Of course there is no way that I think that Gabby Giffords is a prop…Should I have come to her defense? 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.” [Ralston Report]
Nothing Mr. Stock said immediately prior to Congressman Heck’s ill advised remark was directly related to the general proposition of gun violence mitigation legislation coming from the Capitol. When Congressman Heck said, “I agree.” The only possible antecedent was the subject of the former Arizona Congresswoman. The second part may be even more troublesome.
“In a fast moving interview…” really? Is the world moving too quickly for Congressman Heck? There are places wherein most people understand that words should be measured, and thoughts considered before the mouth starts running. Less charitably, one really should, as the old saw goes, engage the brain before putting the mouth in gear. It would seem that a radio interview would be one of those occasions.
When a Congressman has to walk back commentary twice in a five month period it might be advisable to either (1) reduce the number of interviews and other public appearances, or (2) give some serious thought — beyond talking points and bumper sticker responses — to issues of the day. If for no other reason than the Tea Party Darling, Congressman Heck, has an unfortunate propensity to scramble the time honored ballistic advice: Fire, Ready, Aim.
Update: Representative Heck is getting more publicity for this faux pas, there’s this article from the Las Vegas Sun, and the Huffington Post chimes in as well. He got another highlight from Think Progress, and MSNBC’s picked up the story. The original reporting comes from The Ralston Report, as linked above.