(CNN) – In her first interview since the Arizona shootings, Sarah Palin Monday sharply beat back critics who have suggested her at-times charged political rhetoric and use of a graphic featuring crosshairs may have contributed to the shooter’s motivations.
"The graphic that was used was crosshairs. That's not original. Democrats have been using them for years," Palin said in the interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, where Palin is a paid contributor.
"For many years maps in political races have been used to target certain districts that people would feel that they can get into those districts and find someone to whom they believe would represent the constituents' will better than the incumbent," she added.
The map in question – created by Palin's political action committee last spring - featured the crosshairs of a gun over the congressional districts of 20 Democratic candidates – including that of Gabrielle Giffords, the congresswoman who was shot in Tucson nine days ago. Last week, Palin aide Rebecca Monsour defended the graphic, saying the crosshairs were not those of a gun but rather "a surveyor symbol."
But Palin's PAC quickly scrubbed the graphic from its website after the shootings, a move Palin said she found appropriate.
"The contract graphic artist did take it down and I don't think that was inappropriate," said Palin. "If it was going to cause much heartburn and even more controversy I didn’t have a problem with it taken down."
In the 30 minute interview, Palin also addressed the criticism she has faced for her video response to the shootings posted last week on Facebook. Critics particularly took issue with the former governor's use of the term "blood libel," a phrase that for many conjures anti-semetic connotations.
"Blood libel obviously means being falsely accused of having blood on your hands. In this case, that's exactly what was going on," she said, adding later, "Just two days before an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal had that term in its title. And that term has been used for eons."
The phrase, which traditionally refers to a long-standing anti-Semitic myth that Jews murder children for religious rituals, drew fire from the Anti-Defamation League and others. But Palin insisted critics were taking issue with the phrasing in hopes of derailing her overall message.
"It isn't about me personally, but it is about the message," she said. "I know that a lot on the left hate my message, and they will do all that they can to stop me because they don't like the message. They’ll do what they can to destroy the message and the messenger."
Meanwhile, when asked about speculation the recent controversies have disrupted any future political ambitions, Palin vowed she will continue to speak her mind.
"I am not ready to make an announcement about what my political future is going to be. But I will tell you ... I am not going to sit down. I am not going to shut up,"she said.
Stand... my... ground...
And I won't... back... down...
You know you are Sarah Palin when even Tom Petty is more eloquent than you...
"Palin: 'I am not going to shut up' – and comedians and pundits take a collective sigh of relief.
she is not going to sit down nor shut up until she has worked the crowd's wallets. There is more money to be made by running your mouth in America than running for President.
Oh, please, Sarah. Don't shut up. Keep talking. Keep sounding like an ignorant, shrill, mean-spirited shrew. Keep saying stupid, bigoted things. Keep "shooting off" your mouth. We love it.
Well, you should shut up !!
I'm laughing so hard it hurts.
sarah, we're always dying to know what's on your mind. please don't "shut up". you speak the truth at all times and are a saint. you possess the intellect of the most seasoned professor of political science. i look forward to the daily updates on CNN...sarah palin took her kids to school today. palin shot a moose today. palin goes to the bathroom. palin's dog had beggin' strips for dinner (in your face, michelle!), oh how i love the updates on such an impact player in today's political world....
Daily proof that she is unstable and has a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, she suffers from vanity and low self esteem.The Republican Party had better get someone else to front this party, or it is 'totally' lost. Right now she is dominating the party and they just sit there and let her lead them. She is the spokeperson for the Republican Party. What a sad sad state of affairs that is.
GOOD! She shouldn't have to shut up. Keep fighting, Sarah! Don't let slander, libel, and character assassination stop your fight for this country.
Man.. I really wish she would..
She won't shut up...I won't give her a vote. Reality shows and more just serve to undermine. The shootings not politically caused but is certainly getting fueled by rhetoric. Enough already.
God will deal with Sarah. She knows exactly what she is doing to destroy our country. I pray that a smart attorney will figure out a way to sue her for the deaths of these innocent people and the grave injuries she has caused to the others. Shame on all the sheeple that thought she was here to help our great nation. Shame shame
WTF?? ...."For many years maps in political races have been used to target certain districts that people would feel that they can get into those districts to whom they believe would represent the constituents’ will better than the incumbent”... anyone care to translate this nonsense??
She doesn't have to shut up – but I don't see why legitim,ate news outlets keep reporting what she says. They're not reporting everything the crazy bag lady near my apartment says.
Palin please stop while your ahead, just admit you were wrong for your choice of words and that would be it...
Shut up Sarah Palin.
Keep it up, Sarah. Keep digging that hole. You are the center of your own little universe and a self-serving, self-centered twit. Too funny.
Oh please Mrs. Palin... SHUT UP!!!
Keep talking, Sarah. Every time you open your mouth, you dig your hole a little deeper.
Yes, please shut up. Your opinion really means d!ck to anyone with half of a brain.
I wish she would...
Palin "shut up already" have respect for the Arizona victims. Our Country is still in mourning...Shame on the media to allow this idiot to continue her nonsense.
I'll make an announcement for her. This twit couldn't get elected dog catcher.
Sarah should definitely run in 2012...all those Republican men are scared to death that she'll over shadow them.
I don't think she knows what an eon is.
The reality is that when you say someone is destroying America, you automatically put a target on them. Anyone who loves America would have to stop such a person, would they not?