(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.
Yes, she's a mama grizzly alright.....her brain goes into hibernation every time she opens her mouth.
Sarah Palin is not wise enough to "shut up." The more she talks the less I respect her.
Palin can have all the free speach she wants, but please don't run for the repub nomination..we have a real shot of winning in 2 yrs as obama and the dems have proven they have no clue
everything she says is soaked in smarmy "im the victim" rhetoric.
she keeps alluding to her "message" when she goes on the offensive, yet I have never, NOT ONCE, heard her "message" elucidated. NOT ONCE.
And just what does "Don't Give up. RELOAD" insinuate, with human beings in the crosshairs?
This woman exudes hate, love of violence, and absolute disrespect and intolerance for anyone who isn't exactly like her (sadly she often speaks her ugliness in the name of our good and loving God); and she wants to run the country, speaking on our behalf to the leaders of nations of the world? SCARY!
This woman needs to have her teeth wired shut and her lips stitched together. What an embarrassment and a poor excuse for a human being.
If you continue to feed her she will never go away.
Can we please stop covering her so she'll go away? We are dumb-er for having listened to her.
Talk all you want, Palin. You just talked your way out of being president. Yippee!!!
I'm so sorry she will not shut up. I am very tired of her voice, her shrill comments, her ignorance, her mean spIRt and her politics. Please stop covering her inane remarks. Dear Sarah: GO AWAY. YOU ARE BORING and EMBARRASSING AMERICA.
That's fine, she's "not going to shut up." But why not say stuff worth listening to, instead of de-hunmanizing the opposition?
I don't want her to shut up, I want her to disappear entirely.
She may not shut up but boy there are a lot of us that wish she would. What an annoying, stupid woman.
I didn't think you would shut up but i certainly wish you would shut up.
Although I strongly, even vehemently, disagree with Palin about every single thought she has running through her pretty little head, from the moment I read Loughner's youtube posts, I felt that his actions were the outcome of deep mental illness and not born from something Palin said.
That being said, the gun filled rhetoric and the CROSSHAIRS she put on various districts are extremely dangerous and unacceptable.
Her wild west, I'm more American than you because I'm a Christian and the Founding Fathers were Christian and I love the U.S. Constitution more than you because I say I'm more thinking like the Founding Fathers did, and I love my guns and if you don't love guns you're a wussy Commie...is total crap.
Please DON'T shut up, Mrs. Palin because every time you open that pretty little mouth of yours, you make less and less sense and you get just a liiiiitle bit closer to average middle age looks and that many steps closer to oblivion.
You are a pretty face, an empty suit and nothing more.
No really, think about it again. You really should shut up. And not for censorship reasons but for 'you are too dumb to speak without a great speechwriter' reasons.
What school awarded Palin a degree in journalism? She has extremely poor grammar and is inarticulate. Just don't understand why she thinks she's fit to lead. She needs remedial courses and a second shot at education. It's so amazing that she has bought into the hype about herself. She represents "real" Americans? Does real mean shunning education, kindness and respect for others who oppose your opinions?
She would sound so much smarter if she does shut up because so far everything
that came out of it is dumb.
It's not like she has a chance to ever be president. People forgive but don't forget.
We still remember how clueless she was from the election of 08, if she thinks her making smart remarks daily can
trick us educated people into suddenly believing she's smart, she's delusional.
She is so funny.
She is guilty and she must pay for it for the tragedy that she triggered !! The sooner is better. I know for fact that Sarah worst fear of her life is when Gabrielle recovers and gives her first speech. We pray for you Gabrielle to recover soon.
Sarah,your political carrier is OVER.
It is incredible how someone so inarticulate can be so wildly popular.....so very unfortunate if she does run in 2012:
GO AWAY! Stay in Alaska.
"I'm not going to shut up"? Fine. I just wish people would stop listening.
Please shut up. Everything that comes out your mouth is stupid. Please, just stop talkin!
Ya, okay, the targets have been used for years to identify constituencies. But they haven't been used in conjunction with rhetoric that is clearly associated with firing weapons. No, I don't thinks she's to blame for what happened. But she is the accepted leader of the Tea Party movement (even if she doesn't use that title), and she has social responsibilities, including responsibilities for what she says and how she says it. If this situation were reversed – if a Democrat had done and said what she did, and a Republican had been gunned down, you would not hear the end of the screaming. So let's not get into false pretenses here.