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. Irma in North Carolina

    I believe that Palin has gotten this country in an uproar and now people are dying because of this woman for what comes out of her mouth.. All the media should not put anything out what this woman says she is very dangerous to our country.

    January 9, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. Nobody Special

    to think the right wing is actually "pro life"

    Go figure

    January 9, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  3. John Steel

    It says all you need to know about Palin and those like her that they are in full damage control instead of mourning. Palin should be charged with conspiracy.

    January 9, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. Rational

    Words matter to Sarah when they can help her gain political favor... favor which, of course, she uses to pad her bank account. She was oh-so offended by the off-hand use of the word "retarded" by a leading Democrat in a private meeting, yet she says nothing when Rush uses the same word or her daughter uses other snarky words that insult homosexual Americans. Let's just be clear: words matter. They can create a hostile environment and incite people who are unstable already. That's all anybody is saying about Sarah and her pals like Sharron, Michelle, Rush, and Glenn. Nobody is saying that lefties don't have the propensity to incite violence as well... The point is, however, that right now in our history, the violent language about "Second Amendment remedies" and "armed and dangerous" and "bullets instead of ballots" and illegitimate president's.... all of this is coming from the right. Man up, you hate mongerers. You didn't pull the trigger, you just made it seem like the right thing to do for lunatics like this screwed up kid in Tucson.

    January 9, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. William in Texas

    "Appalling". You know what is "appalling" Rebecca? It is that an innocent 9 year old girl is dead. That there are 5 more innocent people dead. That there are another 5 people in critical condition. That you and Sarah still dont want to take responsibility for your words. You know what Rebecca...I can see somethng from my house. You know what it is? That you and Sarah are the most "appalling" people tied to this story.

    January 9, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Seattle Sue

    I notice during last week on TV John Boehner would cry at the drop of a hat. Now after this tragedy in Arizona, when Boehner is on TV talking about it, he appears not to shed one tear. Where are his priorities?

    January 9, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. truth be told

    truth be told, sarah palin instigated this. she knew what she was doing by making that map. she planted a seed in the minds of the looneys who follow her and want to make a name for themselves, only to then wash her hands of the violence they bring, stating that maps like that are part of the process and not intended for violence. riiight.

    January 9, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. Ulric

    Palin should be charged with assistance to a murder if the Congresswoman dies.

    January 9, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. andrewstl

    is this sharon angles 2nd amendement remedy for elections that dont go your way? hope hannity and beck are paying attention you make money on nuts and the stuff you say they believe.

    most of the public is smart enough to realize you are entertainment but for those precious few they react like this.

    January 9, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. HJA

    we never, ever, ever intended it to be gun sights. It was simply crosshairs." "It is a surveyor symbol." see something like that you don't think of a surveyor. Nice try fools. This is why someone like Palin should never be POTUS. She knew what crooshairs would be interpeted as.

    January 9, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. steven harnack

    She gave it away when she admitted that their first thoughts after the shooting concerned the map of targets.

    January 9, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. sorryforyou sarah

    Sarah Palin will pay for all these things she is doing to hurt people in the name of politics and money. The families of all those killed and injured should sue her and and her cubs and take every dime that she has made scamming the american people...Go back to hell where u came from.

    January 9, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    You know it is a lilttle to late. The Tea Party rallies had numerous posters displaying canidates in scopes sights, racial slurs and phrases that call for violence. To Mrs. Palin be careful what u ask for , you just might get it. Be prepared for the consequences of your actions,

    January 9, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. Monster Zero

    How can anyone place blame for this on Sara Palin when there has been ZERO evidence that this was even politically motivated. I find it truly unconscionable that anyone could push blame for this travesty on Palin or anyone other than the trigger man himself, this guy is a nut case, did you read his facebook posts? Have you listened to his criminal background? The left is so intent on trying to portray him as some kind of right wing zealot that it would be humorous should it not have been at the cost of American lives including that of a 9-year old little girl. Now you are getting a good taste of what living in a third world Nation will be like...crap like this happens every week in Pakistan. GO OBAMA, way to bring America forward, Change you can Believe in!

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

    I think it is completely irresponsible of anyone and any new organization to link politics to this. I understand this is emotional, but people need to calm down. Our government was created to have strong debate amongst those who disagree. It is good for different sides to be passionate about their beliefs. We cannot individually control insane people who do heinous acts. And this kid who carried out his execution plan apparently showed signs on his Facebook page of liking both extremely liberal and extremely conservative writings. Saying he carried this out for politics is giving this insane idiot too much credit. And frankly, as much as I do not agree with Palin, feuling this fire by claiming she was responsible is disgusting and wrong.

    January 9, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  16. DoseOfReality

    Palin and the rest of the violent RW needs to be held accountable. The violent rhetoric they have been spewing since before Obama was elected caused this, there is no way to spin it otherwise. Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, you incited this, you have blood on your hands.

    January 9, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. Elven Decker

    Can we conclude from Mansour's comments that she would be OK with a major public figure (Mike Huckabee?) posting a highly publicized picture of her house in the crosshairs and then encouraging people to use their second amendment rights?

    January 9, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  18. jerseylou

    Palin and anyone connected to her should be held accountable .

    January 9, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  19. Kim

    Wow once again it is proven that the libs are as ignorant and rhetoric filled as ever. First of all this man had no tea party or republican affiliations, based on some of his rhetoric his views are more liberal leaning but to blame Sarah Palin for this is ridiculous, how about that hate filled windbag Keith Oberman and RACHEL MADDOW AND THE REST OF THOSE IDIOTS OVER AT ?snbc that insight hate and seperation, if you don't think their way then its no way at all. Read the blogs and see just how nasty and disgusting the liberal followers are. Just the fact that as these people fight for their lives they immediately turned this into a blame game says a lot.

    January 9, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. JD in Moraga, CA

    If someone has political aspirations at the national level, they should 1) own up to their errors, rather than blaming them on others, and 2) realize that their words / actions are likely to be taken seriously by some people, with very real – and sometimes unpleasant consequences. SP fails on both counts.

    January 9, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  21. Amy

    Palin should and must be blamed for firing up the crazy base of the Republican party. It's because of her and people like Beck and Limbough that innocent people die and violence begin. It's because of Palin sick philosophy that 9 year old girl is dead! People like Palin should be jailed for spreading hate, intolerance and putting sick ideas into mentally sick peoples' heads! Republican party should be also blamed for what happened because they did not do anything to stop people like Palin to spread hate messages. Pears is spreading anti-immigrant messages all the time and the rest of the Republican party likes it. Let's see how that will end up...

    January 9, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  22. DaisyinAZ

    Sarah Palin's people are saying it was never meant to be gun sights, but crosshairs. Can someone please tell me the difference?

    January 9, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  23. Oy Vey Az

    I repeat,

    It's easy to spot the haters in this discussion. They are the ones who want to deflect the causes to factors other than political. They say Oh ... it was the weather ... or it was mental illness ... or it was because Howdy Doody came to them in a dream ... or blah blah blah deny deny deny !

    Come on Sarah ... don't use a fancy mouthpiece ... let's hear you come out and publicly condemn hate filled speech ... with your own mouth ... and then follow your own advice.

    January 9, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. Thomas in Vancouver

    If the totally inflammatory picture of crosshairs over Gabrielle Giffords' face wasn't designed to incite violence, why then was it removed after this tragic shooting? Because it DID incite a mentally disturbed person to attempt to kill Gabrielle Giffords, just as everyone who saw it prior to the midterm elections interpreted it to mean. While Palin and her advisors didn't actually pull the trigger, they helped plant the idea in this psycho's head and they MUST take a degree of responsibility for this incident, if not legally but certainly morally. Freedom of Speech goes only so far. Incitement to murder is NOT covered by the First Amendment.

    January 9, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  25. Jan

    Obama may have said that...but he didn't have websites with crosshairs and targets. Oh ya, the average citizen is really going to interpret that as a surveyor symbol. Get real. That and the reference to a fully loaded M16 smacks of violence. Extremism is extremism no matter how the try to wrap a pretty bow on it.

    January 9, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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