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

    they were bullseyes per Sarah herself...

    "From Palin's Facebook page:
    Remember months ago "bulleye" icon used to target the 20 Obamacare-lovin' incumbent seats? We won 18 out of 20 (90% success rate;T'aint bad.)"

    January 9, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Dawn

    To the advisor: As usual in politics it's deflect the blame and point the finger somewhere else. These people lack the courage to take even responsibility for what they posted on their own site, but are rather pointing the finger to a "political consultant".

    Then to use the excuse that everyone does it and it's part of the political system? To use rifle targets to pinpoint people you want to "take out"? This is what has given politics a dirty name, and it has been well deserved.

    January 9, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. Tim Riker

    Interesting strategy of deny, deny, deny and frame, frame, frame. But in the end it all comes down to the PAC denying any ounce of responsibility when indeed they were to some extent responsible. I agree with Sarah Palin that we should all pray for justice. Let the FBI and our justice system decide if there's enough evidence to prove a conspiracy exists.

    January 9, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. Colleen

    more telling is her silence...she may be exercisiing her 5th amendment rights...

    January 9, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  5. ckids

    now it someone targets someone to be taken out,and it happens,isnt that conspirasy to murder?

    January 9, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  6. bert

    The map was taken down AFTER the shooting occured, not before, AFTER.

    This woman knows the link is there to be made.

    Palin and her rhetoric hold some responsibility here, and yes, there is some blood on her hands.

    The removal of the map is an admittance of guilt, in that what you posted had a result in violence.

    You were warned about it (by Giffords herself, actually, when she pointed out your rhetoric had consequences), but you chose to do nothing about it prior to this tragedy.

    Madam, it's not "appalling" to link Palin to this. It's simply "accurate"

    January 9, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    Words have consequences. Shooting wolves, killing every critter from fish to bears, deliberately lying about death panels, spreading untrue gossip about others, it's all a part of who and what she she is. There isn't one single speech of hers that is free from visual violence being depicted. RELOAD - used commonly - she's NOT talking about reloading a cake decorator!! She's a very violent person – and she instills it in her hate and fear speeches. Words have consequences. HATE Speeches have consequences. SHE'S GUILTY.

    January 9, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  8. Carter Sherline

    It was obvious a long time ago it would come to this. Unless the far right is stopped we will go down the same path Germany did in the 1930's They repeat word for word the speeches of the Nazis in the early 30's then act surprised when the same type of violence erupts.

    January 9, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. Nick-o

    What if someone put crosshairs on a picture of Palin's face? Is that going too far?

    January 9, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. Hamilton

    They're.. uh... surveyors symbols! Yeah, that's it... surveyors symbols. Everybody knows that. And when we said "target her" we meant, uh.. get her a JOB at Target! Yeah, that's it... get her a NEW JOB at Target. And that bit about "reload"... uh... Hey! Look! A pretty butterfly!

    January 9, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Wyatt Earp

    Keep up the hate GOP...and keep tea-bagging each other...

    January 9, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. Ted

    It's a surveyor mark? Are they kidding me? Sorry Sarah, but surveyors don't line up peoples faces is their scopes. Especially considering that the context is to get rid of the people in the crosshairs. She must think people are as stupid as she is.

    Also, don't call her governor. She didn't have enough "Alaskan toughness" to even finish that job. She's the epitome of what's wrong with America.

    January 9, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. Bill 55

    If that website had nothing to do with the events, then why quickly remove it?
    Paling and the TP movement have blood on their hands.
    A country that relies on bullets to solve problems is doomed. The lunatics are running the asylum. A sad day for Democracy

    January 9, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. sylvia

    I've been wondering when violence would erupt. The tea party movement was founded and based on verbal violence. It was just a matter of time before it was translated into actual violence. It's time for EVERYONE on both sides to take it down a notch. It would be great to see the half-governer stand up and take some responsibility here. She's the one shooting out of a helecopter.

    January 9, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. Chris

    It is appalling to do the blame game on Sarah Palin. There is also the tea baggers holding those water the tree of liberty signs. There's FOX news that calls democrats unamerican. Plenty of right wing radio hosts that do the same. Why can't these people just admit they incited greedy hatefulness which influenced the gun man?

    January 9, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  16. Linda

    Too late to take the web site down now. The damage has been done

    January 9, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. JC

    Some may find the link "appalling", but others find it logical and have been anticipating this sort of outcome for a long time. When you put crosshairs over your "targets", say thinks like "Don't retreat, reload", shoot and kill innocent animals on TV for fun and laugh and smile about it, and don't denounce people who openly talk about "second amendment solutions", it is tantamount to giving instructions to your followers to carry out what seem to be pretty clear orders.

    January 9, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. Christi

    Palin's cocky response: "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." Where I come from, people think about what they put out there, especially when you appeal to Americans who are unhappy with the government. Putting crosshairs over districts is planting the idea. Most people (not necessarily TP members, but I'm trying to be fair) don't act on these things, but there are many disturbed people out there. It's the responsibility of people in leadership rolls to think about this and refrain from doing something as RECKLESS as putting crosshairs on a target list. The two things may be totally unrelated, but any reasonable person would find Palin's PAC ad offensive, especially in light of yesterday's events.

    January 9, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. Hawkeye

    The only thing 'appalling' here is Palin and her team putting that garbage up on their website in the first place.

    January 9, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. Randy, San Francisco

    Much too late for political spinning or denials. Blood has been spilled. Both sides need to stand down and cool the rhetoric.

    January 9, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. 2tired2care

    "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." – Rebecca Mansour

    Yeah, well Rebecca where I come from the phrase "my word is my honor" means something too. When you put crosshairs on people you ARE implying something. How about you actually stand behind your actions for once, just once.

    January 9, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. NL

    Better not pray too hard for 'justice', Sarah!

    "Surveyor symbol" I'd laugh, if it weren't so tragic.

    January 9, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. NL

    Better not pray too hard for 'justice', Sarah!

    "Surveyor symbol"! That's rich!

    January 9, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  24. Don

    Sarah Palin promoted violence in her rhetoric "don't retreat, reload", on her website "crosshairs over Giffords", and with her mama grizzly, militant positions. She can try to white wash everything she has said and done but the evidence is daming and she won't be able to shake it. What's really unfortunate is that she doesn't even comprehend what she is saying. She is like a child that doesn't understand the meaning of words. Unfortunately McCain gave her a huge stage to play on. This incident will overwhelm her.

    January 9, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  25. a in austin

    Sarah may not have pulled the trigger but she put the hateful rheotoric out there thinking she was "cute" and laughing all the way to the bank. Now a child has been killed among others...how cute is that Sarah? For a sick individual who associated himself with a militia group that is anti-government, anti-semitic, and anti-immigration, all it took was some "coaching" from the sidelines....Sarah, you played with fire and now you have blood on your hands. Taking the graphics off your website...a little too late!

    January 9, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
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