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. brrryce

    So, wait. Those weren't crosshairs? They were "surveyor symbols"? So, what Palin was really saying was her followers should MEASURE their opposition? Like their height or something? And, that whole 2nd Amendment thing they were angry about? Did they get the number wrong or was that an Amendment to Sarah's lease agreement?

    January 9, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    i'm no palin fan by a long "shot" but i don't think she really meant it to actually get anyone hurt. however, i do think things like this "20" campaign was irresponsible, for sure!!

    January 9, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. GuyinVA

    I was alternately watching FOX, CNN and MSNBC right after this happened. Congratulations to CNN for being the first to blame this on the political right, by having leftist loon David Fitzsimmons from the Arizona Daily Star on their broadcast. At least Mr. Fitzsimmons admitted he wasn't a journalist (take note Olbermann). He's a political cartoonist for Pete's sake. He told CNN not to expect bipartisan analysis from him. Points for honesty. You have to be quick in the news business. It took MSNBC a full 3 minutes to get the memo,and then blame the right.

    January 9, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. Mary Rodriguez

    Disagreeing or putting gun sights on someones name are two different things. I think maybe a picture of a pen, an ear, a microphone some other object to represent getting the attention of the person might have been less violent. A talk, a letter....not a gun.

    January 9, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Kathy

    While Palin may not be to blame, her support of people like Sharon Engle shows her true colors. She is also the biggest sore loser and bitter people in this country. If people would stop listening to her, Limbaugh, Beck and the others, most of the problems will be solved.

    January 9, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. Brian

    "It's a surveyor symbol'. Give me a break. It may be a surveyor symbol, but do they honestly think the average American citizen is going to take a look at it and say "look at all of those surveyor symbols"? They're going to see gun cross hairs!

    January 9, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. victoria

    If i were sarah palin i would be praying too–because i am certain i would not be able to sleep with this sort of violence on my conscience–

    January 9, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. Fed Up In Colorado

    Sorry Sarah - you are a big part of the problem ... and Sharon Angle and Jan Brewer - your insipid nastiness and the way you use violence and guns as part of your mantra is tragic ... and costs lives - you are breeding hate and that is one of the reasons that people like myself will NEVER vote for you - you are a poor excuse for a human being and do not belong in politics (you, Sharon, and Jan should find an island somewhere and leave this country ... you are all abominations and should be cast out)

    January 9, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. teaclown

    At the very least gun-toting Palin has fanned the flames of hate. It was just a matter of time until something like this happened.

    January 9, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. Sue

    If this kind of retoric is used all the time by politicans (as McCain has said in defending Palins "Crosshairs and reload remark)
    than everyone of you politicans have this blood on your hands......I'm sure you have heard the saying "IF you don't have anything good to say about someone, then don't say anything at all......because it will eventually came back to bite you in the butt.....Palin not only used Crosshairs but used the words, Don't Retreat......RELOAD.......she may not be guilty of the shooting itself but she is guilty for insighting violence by the use of her own mouth........

    January 9, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. Charlie in Maine

    She chose the target and then she chose to use the crosshairs. GOP, you have sowed the wind and you are reaping the whirlwind. It is that simple. Shame on you.

    January 9, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. Belcourt 2euce

    Surveyoring symbol, not crosshairs. Now that sounds like a cover up if you dont say so. When is Palin goin to step in and admit she was stupid to even go down that road. She if she like a crosshair on her head, oops, i mean surveying symbol

    January 9, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. Angry in Oregon

    Oh please – a surveyor symbol ?? really – is that the best they could come up with ?? Typical repuglican BS...incite and deny...Palin deserves to be charged with incitement at the very least...

    January 9, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. LushRimfire

    Do any of you folkes realize it is the shooters fault,end of story, just stop this witch hunt .

    January 9, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Surveyors sites?

    Give me a break – those are gun sites pure and simple. The fact that they'd try to pass it off now as something different just offends me to the core. We ALL know what they meant.

    January 9, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Sarah Palin, with her "gun mentality" does nothing to bring unity to this great country of America. She is a rabble rouser filled with vitriole and will never hold a leadership role as she is in this for all she can milk the "sheep" people out of.

    January 9, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. Kevin

    I'm a liberal, but this article is correct. Stop blaming Palin, Beck et al. This guy was anti-authority and really didn't like anyone in government, so it's unlikely that any politician was his role model. Blaming the Tea Party is just going to make you lose credibility.

    January 9, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  18. Observer

    One last comment then I'll shut-up. This article is intended to deflect blame/culpability by those in the right-wing party who I imagine are only concerned about lost income from speaking fees. I hope Sarah is force to live out the rest of her miserable life living off the millions in ill got gains and fighting liability claims in the court of law.

    January 9, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  19. Charles Helfrick

    We should remember Palin's spokespersons comment: 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. None of us should be held responsible for Pallin who is completely mentally unstable, or is she just an opportunist taking advantage of unstable electorate.

    January 9, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  20. Mark L.

    My entire family and I extend our utmost, heartfelt condolences to the victims of this horrible tragedy. We also would like to extend our prayers to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and hope she is able to make a full recovery. As far as I am concerned, politics is just not worth all this. Whether you're a liberal or "blue-dog" moderate democrat, or a conservative or TEA party republican, we all need to learn to work together and stop with all of the bickering. Otherwise, this great country of ours is going to head straight down the drain. Our country's forefathers would roll over in their graves if they knew what is going on in this nation of ours at this time. It's all a BUNCH OF NONSENSE !! That's all that it is. Highly paid congressional representatives acting like a bunch of kindergarten school children. That's what our nation has turned into. It is the sad reality, but nevertheless, it is the truth.

    January 9, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. Larry

    No matter how the assessors may want to twist and turn things, this is a politically motivated killing, and the consequence of hateful pronouncements. Yes, the Nation’s constitution protects free speech, but it does also protect civil liabilities. The families of the victims in this case should go after the assets of Sara Palin and some of the other hate mongers whose wild pronouncements can be linked to this case.

    January 9, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  22. Mimi

    Surveyor symbol? Really? "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."

    January 9, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  23. The Issue

    The issue is the young man who allegedly committed this crime is deranged. Only he or possibly some others knew his intent. No one else should be blamed.

    However, the rhetoric on all sides should be softened with real issues and solutions.

    January 9, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. Sigh

    The reality of the matter is that troubled individuals will listen to charged rhetoric and take it seriously. Palin and the members of the Tea Party have used inappropriately violent rhetoric. There should be no surprise that something like this happened.

    January 9, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  25. Stevereeno

    Mansour: 'It's a surveyors symbol'.


    January 9, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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