Giffords had history with Palin, Tea Party
January 8th, 2011
11:43 PM ET
4 years ago

Giffords had history with Palin, Tea Party

(CNN) – As of Saturday, Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' name appeared on a website titled "take back the 20" as part of a list originally issued by Sarah Palin of vulnerable House Democrats. A map on the site showed crosshairs over the contested Democratic districts.

Palin first posted the list in March 2010, naming 20 House members who voted for health care reform and represented districts that Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona won in the 2008 presidential election.



The post read, "We'll aim for these races and many others. This is just the first salvo in a fight to elect people across the nation who will bring common sense to Washington," and was accompanied by a map with targets over the districts.

At the time, Giffords responded to the map by saying on MSNBC that her long-serving colleagues had "never seen anything like it."

"The thing is, the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district," Giffords said in March. "When people do that, they've got to realize there's consequences to that action."

After Giffords was shot in Tuscon, Arizona, Saturday, Palin responded on her Facebook page:

"My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today's tragic shootings in Arizona. On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice."

At a press conference Saturday, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik criticized people who are making a living off "inflaming the American public."

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous," Dupnik said. "Unfortunately, Arizona has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

And Saturday's tragedy was not the first time the Arizona Democrat was targeted. The day after she voted in favor of health care reform, a glass panel at her Tucson office was shattered.

Giffords won a close race against Republican Jesse Kelly in November. Kelly was a Tea Party favorite who ultimately received 47 percent of the vote to Giffords' 49 percent. The Republican-leaning 8th district went for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer responded to the events Saturday by saying the group is "shocked and saddened" by the "terrible tragedy."

"These heinous crimes have no place in America, and they are especially grievous when committed against our elected officials. Spirited debate is desirable in our country, but it only should be the clash of ideas," Kremer said in a statement. "An attack on anyone for political purposes, if that was a factor in this shooting, is an attack on the democratic process. We join with everyone in vociferously condemning it."


Filed under: Arizona • Gabrielle Giffords • Sarah Palin
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. robert

    I bet this shooter was a conservative(republican)....that side as Bill Maher said is moving into a mental institution.

    January 9, 2011 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  2. Dale

    Sarah Palin should have criminal charges pressed for instigation of attempted murder. Crosshairs, "take them out", "Don't retreat, reload!", and so on are instigation of violence. Of course Sarah will get sued by next of kin and lose. Of course Sarah has no chance of a political career now. But I want to see criminal charges against Sarah Palin for instigation of attempted murder.

    January 9, 2011 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  3. Mark, Phoenix

    Palin had a snowball's chance before. Because of her crosshairs and "Don't retreat. Reload." it is down to a snowflake's chance. Her hands are now permanently stained red, as are those of Rush, Beck and Fox. Because of this tragic event, there are plenty of deaths to take credit for. Which one of you want the 9-year old's? Which one wants credit for the federal judge?

    January 9, 2011 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  4. American

    It's time for democrats and liberal to buy guns. Protect democratic values from gun touting republicans.

    January 9, 2011 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  5. American

    Guess what Tea Party, Taliban and Terrorists have in common? They all start with T and they all the same.

    January 9, 2011 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  6. go home sarah

    The tea Party members will continue to defend Palin, Bachmann, Angle, Hannity and Beck for their hateful and stupid remarks that incite the mentally ill to commit acts of violence to anyone who disagree with them. Thanks to them innocent people have lost their lives or had their lives dramatically altered.

    My sympathies go out to all who have been victimized by this horrible tragedy.

    To the mouth pieces of Fake News, Go home and shut up. Especially you, Sarah. Playing the victim while inciting violence is an insult to Christianity. You are not Christians. Who would Jesus place in his cross hairs?

    January 9, 2011 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  7. Breal

    Charge palin with negligent homicide!!!

    January 9, 2011 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  8. fetechef

    I wouldn't be surprised if Palin will now be investigated by the FBI for incitement to hatred, or possibly even for counselling the commission of a capital crime. Palin was pandering to people's base emotions when she encouraged her followers to "lock and load" on her website, with gun sight cross-hairs over her opponents photographs. She should feel partly responsible for today's killing spree and assassination attempt. While no sane person would take her words to heart, there's always a chance some unbalanced person will. When politics and guns are mentioned in the same breath you know there's a serious problem in the country.

    January 9, 2011 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  9. gina

    Interesting, Palin's website is no longer up and running – I wonder why?

    January 9, 2011 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  10. Benny Mason

    Articles like this are exactly the "people who are making a living off "inflaming the American public.", that the sheriff was talking about. CNN should be ashamed to sink to this level of reporting. Report the facts and leave the sensationalism to the tabloids. You are a respected news organization. This story is not News, it is inflamatory conjecture.

    January 9, 2011 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  11. Simon Petrie

    Palin and the Tea Partiers whip up a frenzy of hatred and division with their words and images, and then they feign surprise when someone acts on their incendiary rhetoric.

    It's a shame they're not more intuitive about the borderline intellects to whom they're appealing.

    Just wait for next week, when the Becks and Limbaughs make the attack the fault of the victims. You betcha . . .

    January 9, 2011 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  12. Publius

    Yeah...let's use gun sights for political purposes again, Palin. You should be ashamed. Lost my vote!!!

    January 9, 2011 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  13. Steve Fielder

    The condolences for the Tucson tragedy being issued by Tea Party groups sound hollow and insincere when you remember that these same groups championed candidates that spoke about the need for " Second Amendment remedies" or wanting their supporters "armed and dangerous".......

    January 9, 2011 03:25 am at 3:25 am |
  14. gianni deiana

    gratuliere mss palin

    January 9, 2011 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  15. Sherri W.W.#1~ILLinois

    Yes? Well,I hope that there ARE regular,sensible people in the TeaP,like this lady sounds,who NEED things like Health Care,same as anyone else! There is no "Govt.Takeover",Death Panels",or taking from Medicare! After all,Medicare IS Govt Ins~and my husband has put off retiring because we cannot afford our meds on Medicare! FINALLY,in 2011~NOW~the new HC starts fixing that! If we work,we ALL pay into SS AND Medicare every week,and the ONLY reason its called"entitlement"is because WE ARE entitled to it after we pay for it~and,Soc.Sec.DOES NOT Add to the deficit! We ALL need the peace of mind to know we,or a family member, can HAVE medical care when needed. We hv a grandchild who had cancer at 2yrs old~now he is a teen~an A student an college bound.ALL children like him DESERVE to have Health Ins.Surely most TP folks are NOT rich,and ,if not,they need Ins. The Repubs hv NO intention of REPLACING the HC Bill~thats a fairy tale so lets all move ON TO JOBS ETC! Lets have the good America we USED to have,for us,and our families.

    January 9, 2011 03:32 am at 3:32 am |
  16. Mark

    This is not a proud day in American History, and I have to agree with the Sheriff's comments; even if they are never directly tied to the killings, he is right to assert inflaming hatreds and anger, putting up "Hit Lists", we can never know for sure what drives someone across the threshold.

    January 9, 2011 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  17. Aaron Hanks

    Thank you so much CNN for bring to light the terrible comments and speach that some politicians have been using lately. I have truely been saddened this year more than any previously by the hate, insensitive, and dangerous comments made by many politicians. Comments such as Sarah Palin's and others like "Lock and Load" or "Second Ammendment Solutions" should not be allowed. We should hold these politicians accountable for their comments. Because there is no good to come from these types of comments and very frequently this type of comments can do alot of harm as in the incident we have seen. We need the press and media to highlight this behavior of Sarah Palin AS WELL AS others so that we can have a very important discussion around this issue. I know politicians will always be stretching the truth and slanting things for their own advantage but we should not allow things to get to the point of inciting dangerous or violent behavior.

    January 9, 2011 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
  18. Ken in NC

    When you put the crosshairs of a gun sight over the district you intend to target then the people placing the crosshairs have got to realize there's consequences to that action. Sarah Palin, I hope the likes of you and others like Sharon Angle realize that now. As dispicable and grotest as the both of you are, I would never do that to you or your family. I do, however , hope that your political life takes a turn for the worst with something like this hanging around your neck. I do hope that the good people of Alaska will decide not to even elect you Dog Catcher. You have been preaching you vile hate now since John McCain found you and now people, the crazies are listening to you and starting to do some of the things you wish them to do because they are not wrapped to tight. Even though they comit the act, you are just as responsible because you preached the hate to them. Now after having said all of that, I do not have any hate for you Ms Palin or Amgle but I do think more of the most grotest creature on earth than I do the two of you.

    January 9, 2011 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  19. DP

    Frankly, I really don't want to hear from Sarah Palin how sorry she is for the violence in Arizona and how she is praying for the families after the stunts she has pulled with posting crosshairs on her Facebook and calling for people to "reload." I am sickened by the rhetoric of Palin and anyone who purports to be a Christian and then uses images of violence and also supports the NRA and is for flooding this country with more weapons. Please Sarah, just keep your thoughts to yourself for once. This is not about you and you are such a hypocrite your words only make things worse.

    January 9, 2011 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  20. Rob in Det

    I Knew something like this would happen i waqs hopeing i was wrong,but the media starts covering stupid people like sarah palin,Michell Bachmann,and the rest of the tea party nut's all funded by Rupert Murdoch,owner of fox news,these people are to blame for the violence,with sayings like the tree of liberty needs to be watered with the blood of tyants from time to time i mean what did you think was going to happen when you tell people the new heath care bill was going to kill grandma imean comon the far right reaches some very unstable people with thir rhetoric,this must stop its time for the middle to make a choice.their is no room in this society for politicians who spread hate,supicion,and lies, I call on the American people to stand up & say no more.

    January 9, 2011 04:01 am at 4:01 am |
  21. Anonymous

    Next to Giffords, Palin looks like a moronic, sniveling insect.

    January 9, 2011 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  22. diridi

    sad, sad, and sad...it represents racists, brainlessness, and nonsense...in a democratic society.....we need stringent immigration policies....all these India guys are claiming their kith and kin...watch, and deport...

    January 9, 2011 04:11 am at 4:11 am |
  23. Gidget

    how sad. what has happened to our political system in America? My prayers are with all of the shooting victims. My God be with all.

    January 9, 2011 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  24. Jeff

    Really!!! Is this Really the time for politics? Humanize this tragity? This is the type of garbage that fuels nut jobs like this guy.

    January 9, 2011 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  25. McMurdo

    Sarah Palin and her Tea Party political tactics are to blame for this and McCain, Kyl and Brewer allowed her to come to our state and get away with spewing forth hate and advocating violence whipping folks into a frenzy. Not a single Republican stood up and spoke out against it. The only way for evil to triumph is for good people to stand back and do nothing. It's time to just say no to the ugliness.

    January 9, 2011 04:42 am at 4:42 am |
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