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. StopAnimalAbuse

    Palin is an opportunistic individual who has instigated such hate and divisiveness in this country, that it has finally come down to this inevitable tragedy. She is a danger to society.

    January 9, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. James

    This kid was as far left as Van Jones, Valerie Jarrett, and Bill Ayers. He used the same tactics that the Weather Underground, Black Panthers and the G20 protestors use. Jared took Obama's advice and brought a "gun" to the fight. The TP is full of real Americans that love this Country, liberals hate it and use violence as their answer.

    January 9, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. nuser

    Sarah Palin has spewed hatred from day one !These lies and innuendos will have repercussions, mostly from unstable minds.
    She needs to shut down her hateful and vengeful operation, before some other atrocity happens.
    Who do you think you are fooling Mansour ? You insult peoples intelligence.

    January 9, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  4. Orlando Patriot

    You people who condone somehow linking "right wing" or "Republicans" to this catastrophe are just sick twisted individuals. Clearly Republicans and Democrats have significant ideological differences but I sincerely believe that BOTH parties simply want this country to succeed and BOTH parties are positive individuals who do NOT want any violence or fighting. BOTH parties simply want clear and honest debate and the thought, reference, or "belief" that ANY rational Republican would wish HARM to ANYBODY makes you just a sick individual. How DARE you imply or state that Republicans/Tea Party/Right Wing/whatever would CONDONE ANYTHING like this!!! You are just sick sick sick and twisted......

    January 9, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. JM in Seattle

    Palin put a target on Giffords' head now claims she's not culpable? Please.

    January 9, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. Justin Observation

    "We did not take it down because of this incident.... as it was not intended to be a gun sight... it was just cross I mean it was just a surveyor's symbol... yeah, it was clearly meant to be a surveyor's symbol.. how could anyone think it was a gun sight.... the fact that anyone would consider a link between Sarah Palin's political advertising and firearms is appalling.... we're very perplexed why anyone would think it..."

    Do they really think people are that stupid, or do they just hope enough of them are? Does anyone in politics ever just tell the truth, admit an error, take any personal responsibility for what they do or say? Sarah is not to directly to blame for what someone else does, but for Pete's sake, at least admit that ad featuring gun sights, directed at people, and using the words "take them out" was a stupid thing to do, and that yes indeed it intended to have deliberate "Hit List" overtones, even if intended to just be a pun.

    The ad alone probably won't end Sarah's political career, but her "just play dumb and act astounded" responses should.

    January 9, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  7. ThinkingPerson

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


    January 9, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. Common Sense Please

    Even people with a basic understanding of the legal system understand that you can be implicated to a crime by driving the get away car, although you didn't personally stick up the bank teller to hand over any money. There are countless examples of people in the Tea Party that were showing up to capitol hill with pistols, and RIFLES, and pictures of Pres. elect Obama in crosshairs and a hangman's noose.

    As well as elected GOP politicians never denouncing the violent filled hate speech that people were making; instead placating to them by stating, "well it's their constitutional right to express themselves as tax payers and american citizens."

    So did Sarah Palin and other TP supporters throw rocks at the glass house on the corner? No, but they sure as hell were selling a bag full of rocks to everyone walking by a block away!

    January 9, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. Bob in Pa

    NOt only appalling, just plain stupid. Anyone who reads this idiots rants, looks at his videos, or his book list knows he is not a conservatiove and probably hates Sarah Palin as mush as those blaming her words. This is a kid that believes Colledge education should be free, that America is a terrorist country and has protested by burning the American flag in his videos. Tell me where do all those ideas come from ?

    January 9, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. db

    She also noted that early reporting indicated the suspect, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, was believed to hold "liberal views."

    Oh of course! It's the LIBERALS who are the gun nuts who hate the government.

    January 9, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. Chris Hightower

    Palin is directly responsible. She incites violence, relies on overtly violent threats in her rhetoric, and continually appeals to the lowest common denominator – expressly encouraging people to not think and to reduce issues in a manner that excludes thoughtful approaches to difference and plurality.

    January 9, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. Kandace

    I find it funny that the shooter would have been viewed as a supporter on Monday but today he's mentally deranged. The point is the violent pro gun rhetoric and increasingly hate filled political rhetoric being spewed by people like Sarah Palin and Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh and other right wing fools adds fuel to the fire and fuels so called deranged individuals who are being told daily lies about their civil liberties being taken away. They need to take responsibility. Though Sarah may not have pulled the trigger she has certainly been quoted encouraging people to reload.

    January 9, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. bobby

    Time for the conservative spin. They amass the guns and religion rhetoric and call "taking the country" back. Well, they should should own up to it now.

    January 9, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. Paul

    How many people said, when she posted that page, that it was dangerous and irresponsible? Plenty...there were even people in her party who said she shouldn't have put that list up. I posted on here and on other sites that she should take it down, put something else up. Instead, she goes on interviews and gives speeches for the entire campaign using the phrases "re-load" and "targeting" over and over and over. Shame on her and her team.

    January 9, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. sick of it all

    Even before this incident in Arizona I became fed up with the outrageous rhetoric of irresponsible politicians and news media outlets. I discontinued my cable service. I don't want that rhetoric coming into my home. Sorry CNN.

    January 9, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Ralph

    This whole thing is nonsense... Do we live in the Middle east or russia? Wake the hell up America- We have to kick the extremists that won't work together with a sensible government out or else they won't stop. Is a divided America what we want? Maybe we should all call pour local politicians and tell them we had enough... end the fighting... end the saber rattling... end the games... the elections are over support those in office... next November if you don't like them vote for someone else... but this whole every single day about politics thing is tearing this country apart.

    January 9, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. tommy

    "Don't retreat, reload." – sarah palin. March 23, 2010. Via Twitter.

    Another surveying term?

    January 9, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. MLZ

    What other device besides a weapon commonly has the word "crosshairs" associated with it? They're trying to wash their hands of any and all responsibility, but they can't–they can TRY and claim, "Oh, it was just a metaphor, the whole 'crosshairs' thing" but the reality is that rhetoric with violent undertones is what incites people to take such images literally. I'm not blaming Palin or the political parties or the media for what happened in Arizona, as clearly this was one delusional individual who interpreted reality in his own way and lost his sense of humanity. However, it cannot be denied that such images DO have an effect on the mentality of the nation and have contributed to the sharp divides and often sharper attacks between political parties. (And what must other countries think of us, putting targets like that on our own people?)

    January 9, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. EQEQEQ

    TP rhetoric has been over the top, with Palin as its spiritual leader, since day one. Their formula is to foment anger and ride that anger to power, not to look for common ground or intelligent solutions. Is there direct blame here? No, but the fact that they took down the crosshairs (post facto) indicates a level of hypocrisy that is over the political line.

    January 9, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  20. ronvan

    What gets me is NOT that one person uses language that might incite some idiot (s) but that so many of our "elected children", well aware of todays "instant reporting" cannot keep their foot out of their mouths. EVERY party has done it!
    And now we have another act of insanity, without justification, and you can bet that some attorney, or one of these so called "do gooder" groups are going to jump on the band wagon, preaching their version of the constitution, that this "poor misguided person" had his rights violated or that he his crazy and therefore forgiven. BS. I don't care if he is crazy, once proven guilty he should be taken out somewhere and disposed of!!

    January 9, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. Sid McHenry

    Surveyor symbols? Oh, well that makes complete sense. Since everybody on the face of the planet knows what surveyor symbols look like. I'm sure that was the intent. What were they going to do, target these districts for pot hole repair?

    January 9, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  22. Pro-Gun/Anti Palin

    The fact Palin had the entire "Take Aim at......" campaign was a terrible idea in the first place. Now it looks even worse. She had nothing to do with this I'm sure but that does not mean her actions were not distasteful, irresponsible, and stupid. She is a disgrace and her association with the Tea Party proves their lack of validity as anything other than a group of fringe nuts.

    January 9, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    So, what are you saying, that we shouldn't "target" Palin?
    That she shouldn't be held accountable for language like death panels or that her veiled reference to a "second amendment remedy" shouldn't be held against her?

    Why NOT???

    January 9, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. anna

    What a bunch of lies from the SP camp. They had a moral repsonsibility to not incite unstable people and they failed miserably.

    "It's appalling. Appalling. I cannot even express how disgusting that is." No, Ms. Massour , what is disgusting and appalling is the vile rhetoric that came out your employer's campaign.

    January 9, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. Wow

    This is sad. It doesn't really matter if the Palin posting incited the shooting. The fact of the matter that it could have the possibility of doing so should give sound minded adults enough common sense not to use such violent laced messages in poilitcal campaigns. Palin has been been firing up nothing but hate and violence from her supporters since she came on the scene, and the presence of this Tea Party has only aided in "stiring the pot". Something needs to be done about the wrecklessness of these political campaigns. People should be able to express their thoughts, ideas, and positions without all the hatefulness.

    January 9, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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