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
No different than Gabrielle's election opponent, Brian Kelly, who during 2010 had sessions in the desert where you could shoot weapons with him for $50 to 'take back our government".
Of course it is Palin's fault. I hope that she will live with this guilt for the rest of her life.
I'm glad they finally took down the hit list. 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.
Sarah Palin should be an adult and admit her "Take down (her term) the 20" site was a terrible, inflammatory mistake.
This will keep coming up every time she makes another feint into national politics unless she addresses it head-on.
Politicians need to pay attention to what they say to the public. Politicians also need to remember that the laws they sign give anyone the right to walk up to anyone and pull the trigger. Gov Brewer signed that very bill in 2010.
Surveyor symbol? Heh. That's rich. It's more like the "Lee Harvey Oswald's Point-of-View" symbol. Palin is guilty of depraved indifference.
"We didn't even know it was still up"...uh huh. She really should have just kept her mouth shut. "everyone does it".um, no they don't..you don't hear lefties inciting violence against members of the opposite party. Sad day for America.
I Think rush, Sean Hannity & beck supported PALIN's target symbol on her district
The Palin comments may or may or not have been any influence on this man's actions's yesterday. The fact is, though, that the divisive, inciteful, hate mongering statements made by Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, etc. have had too much influence on the vitrolic air that we are experiencing. Somehow, they think that making inciteful, hateful remarks about another person or party is informative. The opposite is true, because they just say hateful, divisive things and do not tell us anything about what they would do for America. Their actions are those of a 7th grade bully, with a 5th grade brain.
You have the constitutional right to say what you want. But with that right comes tremendous responsibility that should be taken very seriously. I only see Sarah and her crew backpedaling here on that responsibility… It’s like they got busted with their hands in the cookie jar by their parents and their trying to flat out deny it. Why take the posting down if had nothing to do with nothing? I see nothing but childish immature behavior here and I don’t expect Sara and her crew’s rhetoric to tone down anytime soon….
She is part of this. She believes anyone should have guns no matter what kind. If we had stricter laws against having these high powered guns on city streets maybe this would not have happened. Seeing this crazy woman on TV shooting a helpless animal for fun gives other crazy people ideas.
The Palin camp was well aware of the symbolism of the crosshairs immediately after the site was put up becase it was highlighted in the media.
At the time the crosshairs map was first put up in March 2010, 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."
In regard to the “surveyor symbol” I do not think that excuse matches up with the “lock and load” gun references elsewhere on the map.
Futile dodging the obvious.
Rational people know that there is clearly a difference between a political target and an assassin's target. For the MSM to exploit this angle is irresponsible, to say the least.
It's it interesting how Mansour had to be corrected to say they are "surveyor symbols" rather than "crosshairs," which apparently has a use for something other than "gun sights" in Mansour's world. Cut to the chase – you're a liar Mansour, and your boss, while isn't directly responsible, profits by making inflammatory statements. She'll be the scapegoat that will take the heat for this all, but not until she's become quite wealthy from it. Too bad innocent people suffer by her making a buck.
Does the shooter's politics really matter? I think more to the point is his mental state, his conscience and grasp of reality, and society's impact on him. We need to question those things and what we can really do about any of that. With all of the communication available today, thinking and even hatred spreads and feeds off the spread quickly.
I don't think you can so easily dismiss and excuse society as these "psychopaths" are encouraged and feed off of the hate professed by others; to some degree you really even see it here in these posts. With the hate and excited subterfuge, some actually aimed to twist and manipulate people's thinking, offered by some (no doubt both sides have their nuts but Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh come immediately to mind with their extreme antics and exaggerated irresponsible presentations) their prominence, seemingly creditable and intentionally bazaar demonstrations likely not only encourage the extreme thinking but then also make it seem okay. There is just too much hatred and self-centered expressions today and that doesn't represent society well. I'm not a believer in exaggerated religion as I see that as just pretentious and self-focused too but some quality, conscience and responsible thinking and behavior is really called for, because whether we like it or not, to some extent "we are responsible for each other".
When you cater speeches specifically to the incite the fringe element – you share responsibility.
Sarah has been spewing hatred ever since McCain announced her as his running mate. There was a huge backlash when the crosshairs hit list appeared on her site. Now she wants to distance herself from the madness that she helped fuel? Ms. Palin, you are reaping what you have sewn. Perhaps this will be a lesson? I seriously doubt that!
Certainly foxx in general supported PALIN's target symbol on her district.
The worshipped imply. The minions act.
Palin should, once and for all, denounce the inflamed rhetoric she promotes. The b.s. with her, the guns, hunting, reload don't retreat, mama grizzlies, I'm the one who really loves America, the neanderthal tea party, and her shallow quest for mo money needs to go back to Alaska and hibernate. From what I understand, she's not all that popular up there. She's a fraud with no real convictions other than seeing her face on TV and how much she can get paid for it Go away please!!!!!!
Palin's advisor thinks blaming her for any amount of responsibility for the shootings is "appalling"???? What's appalling is that 6 people are dead including an innocent 9 year old child. Palin and her staff make me sick to my stomach. I couldn't stand this ditzy woman before but I really don't like her now. Admit you made a mistake you beauty queen quitter.
Anything and everything about Palin is appalling. She not so indirectly put a hit out on this congresswoman and others. Not having spoken to the shooter personally or directly does not change the effect of her words and actions. Ms Palin is in the national public spotlight and she deserves to be recognized for her accomplishments.
Does Ms. Palin preach about loving neighbors and reconciling differences so that we can live our lives in harmony? There is karma for the hateful, language that is intended to incite anger and fear. This knows no political boundry!
If you posst a map on your website, with gun crosshairs targeting your enemies, and it doesn't mean you want them shot, then what does it mean?
Oh, Palin's not alone on her stage of blame – include Fox – perhaps the biggest contributor to the vitriolic nature we've seen since the run up to the presidential election. Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh – all screeching with rhetoric to delegitimize the president and incite anger and violence. No, palin doesn't bear all the blame, but yes, she's responsible for a share – but the right wing media – tv and radio bears a huge portion of the blame. Republican legislators are also complicit – they've stoked the anger with their vitriolic rhetoric – and did nothing to step in and say "enough". Words have consequences. Enough.