(CBS News) Three Republican Senate candidates have now distanced themselves from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's leaked statement that the 47 percent of Americans who do not pay income tax see themselves as "victims" and "believe the government has a responsibility to care for them."
Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, who is battling Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkeley to keep his Senate seat, told reporters on Capitol Hill that he has a "very different view of the world" than the one articulated by Romney, The Washington Post reports.
"I have five brothers and sisters. My father was an auto mechanic, my mother was a school cook," Heller said Wednesday. "I have a very different view of the world and as a United States senator I think I represent everybody. And every vote is important. Every vote is important in this race. I don't write off anything."
In the leaked comments, Romney said his job is "not to worry about" the 47 percent, since they won't vote for him. "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." After the comments came out, Romney said he is trying to "get as many [votes] as I can from every single cohort in this country."
On Tuesday, Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, who is locked in a tight race with Democrat Elizabeth Warren, said Romney's comments are "not the way I view the world."
"As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in," he told The Hill. "Too many people today who want to work are being forced into public assistance for lack of jobs."
Connecticut Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon, who is also in a tight race, said in a statement on her website that she disagrees with Romney's "insinuation that 47% of Americans believe they are victims who must depend on the government for their care."
"I know that the vast majority of those who rely on government are not in that situation because they want to be," she said.
A poll out Wednesday found that voters have a negative response to Romney's comments, with 36 percent saying the comments make them less likely to back Romney and 20 percent saying they make them more likely to back him.