Adviser: Linking Palin to shootings 'appalling'
Well wishers hold vigil outside Tucson hospital Saturday
January 9th, 2011
12:45 PM ET
7 years ago

Adviser: Linking Palin to shootings 'appalling'

Washington (CNN) - Sarah Palin's political aide removed a controversial web post Saturday after a gunman attempted to assassinate an Arizona congresswoman in a mass killing that left, among others, a 9-year-old girl dead.

But a Palin aide Saturday denied the web posting from the 2010 congressional campaign - featuring gun sights over the congressional districts of 20 Democratic candidates – was designed to incite violence. Rebecca Mansour told conservative host Tammy Bruce that it was a political tool and noted it should have been removed after the November election.

And Mansour chastised critics who tried to link Palin to the shooting Saturday in Tucson, Arizona, that left Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition.

"We are all looking at our Twitter feeds and I am seeing people and it's really sad," Mansour said in the interview that is posted on Bruce's web site. "People actually accuse Gov. Palin of this. It's appalling. Appalling. I cannot even express how disgusting that is."

Shortly after Giffords was shot Saturday, the issue of heated political rhetoric became a hot topic on the blogs and on the cable news channels. Palin's "Take Back the 20" web posting became an example for some people who said it has gone too far. And when a Palin political aide had it removed from the website, critics suggested the former Alaska governor was trying to distance herself from the shooting.

"We had thought that 'Take back the 20' was taken down after the November election because it's irrelevant now," Mansour said. "And they called us this morning and said, 'Do you want us to take this thing down?' Because they realized instantly, you know."

"And I think, you know, just reflectively without even thinking about any consequences, our PAC treasurer said, 'Well it should have been down already. Why is it still up? We are not paying for that. It is not getting any traffic. It is no longer relevant.' So it was taken down."

"It was not trying to scrub anything. The original Facebook post where we had this graphic is still up. And I just want to clarify again, maybe it wasn't done on the record enough by us when this graphic came out, the graphic is, we never, ever, ever intended it to be gun sights. It was simply crosshairs."

Bruce then interjected, describing the marks on the map as a "surveyor symbol," and Mansour agreed. "It is a surveyor symbol."

Palin's "Take Back the 20" was an effort to defeat Democrats who voted for healthcare reform and represented congressional districts that Sen. John McCain and Palin, then Alaska governor, carried in the 2008 presidential election.

The 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee issued a statement Saturday expressing remorse for the victims.

"My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today's tragic shooting in Arizona," Palin wrote in a note placed on her PAC's web site and Facebook page. "On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice."

Mansour, in her interview with Bruce, said she didn't "understand how anybody can be held responsible for somebody who is completely mentally unstable like this.

"Where I come from the person that is actually shooting is the one that's culpable," she said. "We had nothing whatsoever to do with this."

She also noted that early reporting indicated the suspect, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, was believed to hold "liberal views." Mansour added, "But that is not to say I am blaming the left either. He is clearly mentally unstable."

Mansour also said the controversial web posting had been designed by a political consultant.

"We saw it really quickly and we said, 'Yeah, that's fine, that's great,'" Mansour said. "We had never even imagined or occurred to us that anybody would interpret it as violence, because it's not. And you know what, targeting congressional swing districts, targeting swing races, just is part of our Democratic process. Everybody does this. And it is the way the process is supposed to work. What is not supposed to happen in our democratic system is for lone, crazy gunmen to commit mass murder like this, like we saw today."

CNN has left a message with Mansour seeking further comment.

- CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report

Filed under: Arizona • Gabrielle Giffords • Sarah Palin
soundoff (406 Responses)
  1. Time Grows Short

    It is Obama who has said time and time again "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun". Mr. Obama is the terrorist in chief and is the root and promoter of all political violence in this country today.

    January 9, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  2. NoWay

    Fuel for the fire storm that's coming to the tp.

    January 9, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. vic nashville tn

    Too late
    Nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green didn’t do any thing wrong

    January 9, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Katie

    No one is saying Palin pulled the trigger. But she is one of many right-wing personalities that has chosen to use guns and violence as political rhetoric, and it is irresponsible. She is part of a problem and she needs to accept that her words hold influence over people and she needs to be careful, especially when it comes to leveling violent statements at her political opponents.

    January 9, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. dave

    "People actually accuse Gov. Palin of this"
    She should more accurately be called 'Half Governor Palin' as she quit in the middle of her term. in office. She apparently respects the people who elected her even less than she respects civil politics. I am personally sorry that Half Governor Palin wasn't in attendance at this event.

    January 9, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. Monster Zero

    Does that mean Roseanne Barr can't blast Palin anymore on CNN's web site?

    January 9, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. Carl

    Deflect and deny.

    That's all we get from the person who started this thread.

    January 9, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. gypsydaveywithablowtorch

    Of course, Palin's intent wasn't for someone to go out and shoot a member of Congress. However, with rhetoric like that, unstable people are going to take their message literally. One candidate went as far as suggesting we exercise our second amendment rights if we don't like the result of our elections. Could someone please tell me what "Time Grows Short" is referring to. Funny how there is nothing in his/her comment condeming what just happened.

    January 9, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. Hal

    Time Grows Short: wrote

    It is Obama who has said time and time again "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun". Mr. Obama is the terrorist in chief

    Another TP idiot telling lies and calling the President a terrorist. You fools reveal the truth about the TP everytime you speak!

    January 9, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. Truthseeker

    You doth protest too much, dear Rebecca. Your hero, Sarah, constantly used rhetoric like "don't retreat, reload." There is violence implied, and there was a direct CROSSHAIR on Gabrielle Giffords. If they truly were not crosshairs, why on earth wasn't this addressed earlier? There is blood on your hands, all of you at SARAHPAC bear some responsibility in the climate of hate that's been proliferated and given rise to incidents like this.

    January 9, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  11. bob

    The website should never have been put up in the first place. No coincidence here. Sarah Palin and the "20" campaign was a purposeful and sick act. Shame on them. They knew it would incite this type of rhetoric. It's been going on ever since a black President took office.

    January 9, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. Realist

    Dont think so, republicans are to blame for this one, clearly.

    January 9, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. Tim in Omaha

    Why is it every time something happens, you (CNN) immediately work as hard as you can to link it to fmr Gov Palin?

    Is there one shred of evidence this shooter even looked at what you are insinuating instigated an attack?

    January 9, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. Jack Dawson

    Thanks Palin,

    Good luck rationalizing your role in this tragedy with the victims families and the American people. Hope you're proud of the way this murderer expressed is "2nd amendment rights" on behalf of your tea party and extreme right.

    January 9, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. donna

    As an Alaskan, I am once again mortified by Sarah Palin's actions and words. She does not represent mainstream Alaska. She only represents herself. Palin, Limbaugh, and Beck, all parasites who are making big bucks peddling propaganda and inciting violence, should be removed from the airways. They care not for the truth, the goal is to appeal to the fears of the ignorant and uninformed. Their influence is dangerous, not just to the American people, but to the country as a whole. These prostitutes of rhetoric have no place in the media.

    January 9, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. Hal

    1.Sarah Palin puts a crosshair over the name of a member of the opposition.
    2. Calls for her "TP"ers to re-load and fire a salvo.
    3. Spreads lies about "death panels" and the opposition being "terrorists"
    4. Unstable nutcase (ie Tea Party Base) kills a kid and three septuagenarians in his efforts to kill a Dem.

    Apparently the Right Wing never learned connect the dots in elementary school!!

    January 9, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. Mukudi

    Sarah Palin is the mother of all things bigotry. Her own children have demonstrated that in their public behavior and her mouth spews nothing but vitriol everytime she says anything. Why did Good old McCain do this to America!!! I agree with Mrs. Bush for Mrs. Palin to please stays in Alaska.

    January 9, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. Jack Dawson

    Thanks Plain,

    Good luck rationalizing your role in this tragedy with the victims families and the American people. Hope you're proud of the way your followers express their "2nd amendment rights" on behalf of your tea party and extreme right.

    January 9, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. Danielle

    You have to be careful about what you say. Some of Palins audience are extreme and you have to think about these things. I know her team will try but you can't distance yourself from it now. It is what it is. Most thinking people have to acknowledge its dangers and did when they came up with that map. I am sorry that this had to happen. If it the "take back 20" map wasn't directly related to the shooting great but the shooting still happened, it is still a tragedy and people with influence, which unfortunately Palin and others have, need to be very cautious. The language of the the Becks and Palins and others of the world have been very close to in-sighting violence. It cannot be denied.

    January 9, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. Ann

    The guy was mad because Giffords did nt support Pelosi! No wonder everyone liked her, she wasn't a true democrat!

    January 9, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  21. Bob

    Funny how after the Fort Hood shooting CNN bent over backward to caution against blaming the influence of Islam on Nidal Malik Hasan, who was obviously just a nutcase acting alone. CNN even ran a sympathetic article about CAIR and how hard it was on them having to distance muslims in general from the actions of one person. Now, without any evidence whatsoever that this shooter even saw the Palin website, CNN is ready to blame the Tea Parties. This heated political rhetoric stuff cuts both ways, people.

    January 9, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. Jeff

    Ummm, why isn't Palin the one giving interviews about this? How like her to send a flunkie to take the heat.

    January 9, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    "we never, ever, ever intended it to be gun sights. It was simply crosshairs.""It is a surveyor symbol."

    Bull....Nobody seeing that would think surveyor.And when you "target" someting it's in your sights, your not surveying it.
    Nice try fools.

    January 9, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  24. once upon a horse

    this blaming Sarah Palin and putting her in the mix rightly or wrongly only makes things we have the right and left pointing fingers at each other and that is part of the problem here. We have free speech in our country but we should also be responsible when we use it. Congress saw the signs or should have even in the 2008 election with Clinton and Obama going at it to when Obama and McCain went at it with all the terriost and hate stuff that was expressed then. To address it now is like closing the door after the horse has left the barn, but I guess it's better late than never. But then again I am sure there are those praying this shooter has Glenn Beck books, Sarah Palin posters, and FoxNews set on his tv.

    January 9, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. John

    Please a “surveyor’s symbol”, go to Palin's tweet on Nov.4, she herself mentions the crosshairs.

    January 9, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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