*Update: Former Gov. Linda Lingle said Wednesday that she does not agree with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s controversial remarks about government entitlements.
The Republican U.S. Senate candidate said people in Hawaii do not believe in labels and that it was unfair to place people in a category. Lingle becomes the fourth Republican Senate contender to distance themselves from the GOP presidential nominee’s remarks.
But Lingle also said that U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, her Democratic opponent for U.S. Senate, is attempting to use Romney’s comments to nationalize the election.
Despite Mazie Hirono’s best efforts, the people of Hawaii know that this election for the U.S. Senate is about she and I, not Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, President Obama or Vice President Biden. Mitt Romney is running his national campaign, and I am running my campaign here at home. Mazie Hirono’s repeated attempts to nationalize this election are proof that she does not have a record of accomplishment for the people of Hawaii and she must campaign on fear tactics and national party talking points, rather than her own plans for our future.
I am not a rubber stamp for the national party and I am not responsible for the statements of Mitt Romney. With that said, I do not agree with his characterization of all individuals who are receiving government assistance, as I know many of them are driven, hard-working individuals who are actively working to better the situation of their ‘ohana. It is not fair to place these individuals into any one category. The people of Hawaii know I don’t believe in labels and I know they don’t either.
Earlier Wednesday, Hirono had condemned Romney’s remarks and Lingle for her previous silence.
Hirono called Romney’s comment about the “47 percent” who will likely vote for Hawaii-born President Barack Obama no matter what because they are dependent on government “deeply offensive.”
From Hirono, in a statement prepared for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s state convention:
Let me translate Mitt Romney for you. Romney is saying, ‘If you support President Obama, you’re lazy. You have no self-respect. You don’t pay taxes. And I won’t be your President.’
Here in Hawaii, where President Obama was raised – where President Obama received over 71% of the vote in 2008 – Mitt Romney is writing off a whole lot of people. People right here in this room.
And my opponent, Republican Linda Lingle – who says she is “proud” to co-chair one of Mitt Romney’s campaign committees – is silent about Mitt Romney’s absurd words and hurtful views.
But I will not be silent. You will not be silent. These words are an outrage. These views are unacceptable. And, this is just one more reason we must re-elect our island son, President Obama. And, we cannot allow Republican Linda Lingle to go to the United States Senate.
Lingle, who needs to attract independents and moderate Democrats to be competitive, has tried to avoid being drawn into comparisons with national Republicans. She has endorsed Romney and is one of five co-chairs of the Jewish Americans for Romney Coalition.
A few Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in tight races have sought to distance themselves from Romney’s comments.