Leahy: 'Seething rhetoric' has gone too far
January 11th, 2011
04:36 PM ET
4 years ago

Leahy: 'Seething rhetoric' has gone too far

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Patrick Leahy issued a stern warning Tuesday on toning down the rhetoric that many say led to the shootings in Tucson, Arizona.

"The seething rhetoric has gone too far. The demonizing of opponents, of government, of public service has gone too far," the Vermont Democrat said at the Newseum in Washington. "Our politics have become incendiary and we all share the responsibility for lowering the temperature."
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Filed under: Patrick Leahy
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Tom O'Donnell

    Oh Come On! How many times were George Bush or Ronald Reagan portrayed as Hitler by those on the Left. Poor use of an example by CNN. I don't remember many complaints by the MSM, or Leahy back then.

    January 11, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. T'sah from Virginia

    Many Democrats have already come forward and stated that the "hateful" rhetoric needs to be tone down – Where are the RepubliCAN'Ts with the same message??? RepubliCAN'Ts who are planning on running for the highest position in the USA? Where are they – ginGRINCH, Palin, Bachmann, Pawlenty, Thune, Romney, Huck-A-Bye etc? All of a sudden are MUM.

    Where's CAN'Tor, McConnell, and others – Missing in Action!!! And when you think about it – 95% of the hate was coming from the Far Right/Right/TP!!

    January 11, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. wire Palladin, S. F.

    All the job killing republicans have is 'seething rhetoric.' Republicans have no ideas or plans to help Americans, so they just make up crap about the president and democrats, and hope that their followers are too lazy and mentally challenged to find the truth. They are fortunate that the baggers are dumber than a stufit, as they seem to enjoy having toxic conservative manure (TCM) shoved down their throats.

    January 11, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  4. Isaac

    I think Sen. Leahy is right. Some of the right wing nuts in the media including haf time gov. Sarah Palin are feeding hate to the lunatic people like the one in Tucson. They should be responsible for it. I beleive Jared Lee knew exactly what he was doing when he commite this hanious action. I dont buy that he was mentally ill as expressed by some folks.

    January 11, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. Marie MD

    All politicians, specifically those on the right, should have been talking about this and not allowing certain people (the ex mayor, bachman, angle, wilson, dimwit and grayson) to continue to talk about hate and death panels and taking back our country or allowing beck and limbaugh and faux news to encourage such talk.
    Regardless of the reason when someone is already prone to violence because of mental illness or just a mean streak they don't need a lot of proding to do harm.
    I hope someone is listening and that this is the end of some radio talk show hosts and, need I say it, and that this is finally the end of that woman except that cnn continues to bring her up starting with her crosshairs map to another stupid poll!
    HAVENN'T WE HAD ENOUGH OF HER AND HER FAMILY TO LAST THREE OR FOUR GENERATIONS!!!???

    January 11, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. doug

    Where were all these lib media and politicians when not hundreds, not thousands, but MILLIONS OF DEMOCRATS WERE SAYING THEY WANT GEORGE W BUSH KILLED!!!!

    If you are a Democrat your words mean nothing on this, you wish people who disagree with you would die.

    January 11, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. Albo58

    Leahy is a party hack and like many of his party, he is trying to tie free speech, the Tea Party, and political debate to the tragedy in Arizona!

    January 11, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Remember when Newt thought he was president in 1994, and he shut down the government? Just this one experiment with terrorism cost the taxpayers $800 million. He was involved in more shady tricks.

    January 11, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  9. Remmi

    To say I am skeptical of anything that is said by a Democrat is an understatement. They have done everything imaginable to exploit this shooting throwing out a world of untruths with absolutely no evidence. For Leahy and his crowd anything and everything can be used that is unsupported by data to discredit opponents on the right. Forget unity.

    January 11, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. gt

    wow.... where was leahy when he bash and demean george bush..when he acted like a bully in the senate...when ran down the gop senate.... wow he got some nerve...

    January 11, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. Inmyopinion

    Well, Leahy might as well start a list of those on TV to blame also like Roseanne Barr, David Letterman, Joy Behar, Fox News, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno, Tom Hanks, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, MSNBC, Keith Olbermann, Tea Party, etc... who speak strongly against the opposite political party. Next thing we know we are all taking the blame for this pot head, monster, killer because somehow someone will say society failed him and that it is not his fault that he had to kill innocent people, that he was upset, angry at Rep. Giffords answer to him in 2007. Maybe the monster had love feelings for Giffords and felt she rejected him, who knows with this pot head.

    January 11, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. S. In California

    It is just simply AMAZING republicans are just now starting to show some interest. This ignorance of yelling, screaming and issuing threats has gone on for almost three years now and now since they think they might lose a few votes they want to somehow show "interest". (p)alin can add MURDERER to the list of her non accomplishments as she knew EXACTLY what this would lead to and she also knew there were/are people out there who would act upon it. Congratulations republicans you haven't been in office a full month and people are killing or attempting to kill politicians and innocent children all in the name of "making our president a one term president". What a low-life palin is. She will continually be the "target" of my prayers.

    January 11, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  13. Lori in St Pete

    Of course the rethugliban will trash the "leftists" for this, but they had no problem at all when ari fleischer stated after people began questioning the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue's "either yer fer me or a'gin me" cowboy stance following his decision to invade Iraq based on lies that he knew were lies that Americans "need to watch what they say". And when American citizens somehow managed to unfurl banners or expose t-shirts with negative comments about the dauphin prince in public venues where the dauphin prince was holding court, they were beaten and then arrested for "inciting violence". Whether it's an issue of wingnuts beating up on peaceful Democratic protesters or another story about the shrinking middle class, the right always finds a way to blame the victims.

    January 11, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. Lori in St Pete

    This goes way beyond depicting someone as Hilter, Tom O'Donnell and you know that. Nice attempt at obfuscation though.

    January 11, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The 'seething' rhetoric had gone too far 2 years ago sir. Those pictures of Obama portrayed as Hitler were being waved around right here in Washington D.C. by fervent members of the all-inclusive Tea Party. I know. I saw it.
    I am heartened that a senior member of the legislature is speaking out in plain tones about where all this lack of civility in public discourse has taken us. I am however VERY dissappointed that the so-called Conservative side of the House has taken this opportunity to play DODGE and go mum.
    To add insult to injury, none of the so-called Conservative leadership has told Limpballs that, at this solemn time in for our nation, he needs to STFU.

    How much more pussy-footing needs to go on before consequences follow the irresponsible words and actions of those who for whatever reason are continuously given press? How many more people need to be shot at by those who have difficulty differentiating between reality and fiction before a concerted effort is put forth by both Parties to essentially stop the madness that has been created by "responsible" elected officials?

    Or are they waiting and hoping that just the right nutcase would hear their 'call to action'?

    January 11, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. cf

    I love how the rightwingers' excuse seems to be "Oh, well, someone on the left did it once, so that makes it okay."
    Let's be clear: there is a huge difference between lunatic fringe people on the left, who have no affiliate with the party or candidates, saying or doing atrocious things, and mainstream, ELECTED LEADERS on the right saying and doing atrocious things. It's not a an equal parallel.

    January 11, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. Zoralina Wilson

    No one is saying the Dems did not indulge in similar tactics. Leahy is merely stating the truth. That this type of campaigning has gone to far. the US is at the brink of internal destruction is truth and honesty dont come to the forefront of the political system and the political debates. Doesnt mattter whose party member is saying these words – the message matters.

    January 11, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  18. Rick McDaniel

    Don't know that such a statement is really true. it is amusing how the Dems are all saying that.......yet they were the ones who passed legislation against the will of the public, who have ignored the number one need of Americans (jobs), and who have pulled every shady political trick in the book, to get their political appointments, and to pass their legislation.

    Perhaps the Dems should own up to what has caused this rhetoric, in the first place........very reprehensible actions by the Dems, who have been conducting themselves as dictators. Perhaps those Dems should also be reminded, that dictators usually fall by citizens rising up against them.

    January 11, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  19. Lori in St Pete

    Prove it dougie. Post a link to video of any one of the "hundreds, not thousands, but MILLIONS OF DEMOCRATS SAYING THEY WANT GEORGE W BUSH KILLED!!!!"

    January 11, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I fear for our President.
    Many, many of us do. We literally pray for him and his family everyday because we are NOT blinded or sidetracked by th smoke and mirrors that the press is giving this very important subject. Many of us, Black and White, see the atmosphere of anger, distrust, and hate that has been built up and fanned by prominent members of the so-called Conservative Party, and the silent consent of some in the Democratic side of the house.

    Recall if you will a year and a half ago when members of Congress were asked point blank on camera if they thought that President Obama was NOT a citizen. A very simple yes of no question received all sorts of eqivocating answers and double-talk, as they gleefully went on inside the House of Congress,and left the viewing audience wondering wtf?

    We're going doing an unhealthy slippery slope. We're playing with the proverbial fire. And the repercussions that we risk will not be shoved back into this Pandora's Box of our own creation.

    God save and bless our country, and our President Barack Obama.

    January 11, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. gmala

    This image of Obama with the Hilter mustache comes from the Lyndon LaRouche crowd, not conservatives, Republicans or Tea Partiers. CNN, you continue to do a disservice by not explaining this.

    January 11, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "Poor use of an example by CNN."

    Actually, it's extremely purposeful. CNN and the rest of the "news" media are desperate to paint this as "both parties do it equally" so CNN chose an image that fits that...because plenty of angry, appalled liberals likened Bush's rights-infringing programs like unwarranted wire taps, Gitmo and torture (among others) to nazi-esque, Hitlerian authritarian, dictatorial behavior. But it's a false equivalency. Look at TPM Muckraker's article listing where the violent rhetoric has been coming from in the past couple years and then compare it to Michelle Malkin's pathetic attempt at generating an "oh yeah, well here's all the examples of liberals doing it too." Both are quite biased, TPM to the left and Malkin to the right, and both were unarguably looking for the highest profile bad actors they could find because, well, it wouldn't make sense otherwise.

    The problem for Malkin and her ilk? The important distinction? Malkin had to find all her examples by digging for things the crazy left wing fringers did. TPM only had to look as far as Palin, Limbaugh, Beck and other prominent, powerful, influential, "leaders" and elected officials of the Republican party...even those who are currently serving in office.

    January 11, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    BTW, kudos CNN and the rest...the concerted effort to whitewash this issue has been spot on and belongs in "journalism" classes as one of the ultimate examples of media purposefully attempting to influence a story so that it fits the convenient, non-ad-revenue-damaging narrative they desire.

    January 11, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  24. Inmyopinion

    How come it is not mentioned that she used to be a Republican? Maybe this pot head was angry at Giffords for having been a Republican and didn't approve her switching to Democrat?

    January 11, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    And we know why:

    it's because CNN and the rest are complicit for having spent the past several years uncritically broadcasting whatever any of these jackholes says without EVER EVER questioning it, analyszing it against facts, evidence or even just common decency, not to mention NEVER bothering to say anything like "you know what? that's just completely disgusting, get the hell off my show." In order to perpetuate the he-said-she-said sensationalized controversy game of selling advertising time/space, both the he-said and the she-said HAVE TO BE...no ifs, ands or buts...treated and portrayed as equally legitimate. The imbecile bobblehead sitting there arguing that water is dry HAS TO BE nodded and smiled at without question. So thank you for that "news" media...your partcomplicity in the generation of a political climate that allows for pithy remarks about secession, violent revolt and gun metaphors is duly noted.

    January 11, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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