Giffords had history with Palin, Tea Party
January 8th, 2011
11:43 PM ET
9 years ago

Giffords had history with Palin, Tea Party

(CNN) - As of Saturday, Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' name appeared on a website titled "take back the 20" as part of a list originally issued by Sarah Palin of vulnerable House Democrats. A map on the site showed crosshairs over the contested Democratic districts.

Palin first posted the list in March 2010, naming 20 House members who voted for health care reform and represented districts that Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona won in the 2008 presidential election.

The post read, "We'll aim for these races and many others. This is just the first salvo in a fight to elect people across the nation who will bring common sense to Washington," and was accompanied by a map with targets over the districts.

At the time, 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."

After Giffords was shot in Tuscon, Arizona, Saturday, Palin responded on her Facebook page:

"My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today's tragic shootings in Arizona. On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice."

At a press conference Saturday, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik criticized people who are making a living off "inflaming the American public."

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous," Dupnik said. "Unfortunately, Arizona has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

And Saturday's tragedy was not the first time the Arizona Democrat was targeted. The day after she voted in favor of health care reform, a glass panel at her Tucson office was shattered.

Giffords won a close race against Republican Jesse Kelly in November. Kelly was a Tea Party favorite who ultimately received 47 percent of the vote to Giffords' 49 percent. The Republican-leaning 8th district went for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer responded to the events Saturday by saying the group is "shocked and saddened" by the "terrible tragedy."

"These heinous crimes have no place in America, and they are especially grievous when committed against our elected officials. Spirited debate is desirable in our country, but it only should be the clash of ideas," Kremer said in a statement. "An attack on anyone for political purposes, if that was a factor in this shooting, is an attack on the democratic process. We join with everyone in vociferously condemning it."

Filed under: Arizona • Gabrielle Giffords • Sarah Palin
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. andre

    Sarah Palin, a perfect example of things that should have never come to the main-land.

    January 9, 2011 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  2. Josh

    Congratulations Sarah Palin, you got what you were looking for. Your hands have blood in it!

    January 9, 2011 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  3. Todd

    Palin is an accessory to murder. Not holding her and those of her mindset accountable is simply negligent.

    January 9, 2011 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  4. Rick

    I am waiting to read the conservative post about crime in the black community

    January 9, 2011 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  5. Ck

    What a suprise that CNN would fan the flames further by posting this story

    January 9, 2011 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  6. Brian A

    We as a nation should be coming together at a time like this, regardless of whether you are a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or just don't care. We should use this tragedy as a reason to all come together as one. After listening to the reckless accusations on the left, it is now evident that we are more divided today than we were yesterday, and that is the shame.

    January 9, 2011 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  7. Jane Marek

    Many saw this coming. The fearful use the hatred in their political speech since they are afraid to tell the truth that they are run by the rich. This is just the sad reality that we have abused our freedoms and are now going to loose them because of it. The pen is mightier than the sword, but some political parties can only preach fear and hatred. Sick!

    January 9, 2011 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  8. stejo

    I would love to hear Palin apologize for such a violent image on the website, but I seriously doubt that will happen.

    January 9, 2011 01:33 am at 1:33 am |

    “If foreign terrorists had a map and a list...the CIA would be on top of whoever created the list. The FBI cannot ignore the map, it's contents or the sponsor of such a devastatin­g, cruel and vicious act. Mrs. Palin should be picked up by police, handcuffed and marched in for "questioni­ng" at the minimum. To ignore the obvious is also a crime.”

    January 9, 2011 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  10. Myron

    Give me a break. Are you really trying to blame the Tea Party and Sarah Palin for her unfortunate death? Do you really hate Palin and the Tea Party so much that you will use the horrible murder of Giffords to score political points. Disgusting.

    January 9, 2011 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  11. Squich

    Sarah Palin and the rest of the GOP Republican trash who have been stirring up hatred in our nation because they are too ignorant to debate on substance and don’t care about consequences of their works should be charged for in sighting violence. Bachman and Boehner should be in jail with her before the sun comes up. There needs to be a full investigation of the funding of the tweet, face book and other accounts being used to spread hate and insight violence.

    SHAME ON THESE REPUBLICAN TRASH and their slow ignorant and hateful leaders Limbaugh Boehner, McConnell and Beck who fan the flames trying to build a movement. These are sick people who have NO values.

    January 9, 2011 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  12. Mo

    There is no doubt that the constant over the top, violent rethoric coming out of Palin, Limbaugh and Beck, and by right-leaning commenters in these blogs and news sites on a daily basis is largely responsible for this tragedy. It only takes one deranged individual to take this pervasive vitriol to the next level.

    January 9, 2011 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  13. CanadaKid

    So polarizing...Left vs. Right...Religion vs. Religion vs. Non-Religious...Fox vs. MSNBC...this pundit vs. that pundit...North vs. vs. white...Sarah Palin vs. common decency...America is viciously gnawing itself to death...its the death of the American spirit..and its disgusting...

    January 9, 2011 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  14. Jman

    Not that any of this is false, but what is the relevance of this to a shooting? If the shooter is a Tea Partier, OK, you might have a point. Given that we know next to nothing (and what I've heard indicates he's a deranged lunatic of leftist persuasion) it seems like CNN is hoping readers draw conclusions facts currently don't warrant by mentioning the Tea Party in the same breath as the shooting. Shame on you for taking advantage of a tragedy like this.

    January 9, 2011 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  15. Ed Mullins

    This story is beyond the pale. If you want to politicize the motives of the shooter, let's be factual. His classmate from high school and college described him as a "left-wing pothead." Furthemore, his favorite books include Communist Manifesto and Mein Kemf. Add to this is his support for flag-burning. This guy was a radical, deranged liberal. He was not a conservative, nor a member of the tea party. So while I am no fan of Sarah Palin, she had nothing to do with this. You should be ashamed.

    January 9, 2011 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  16. TM

    Maybe NOW that idiot from Wasilla will finally consider how her endless litany of IGNORANCE and HATE are endangering this country, and SHUT UP!

    January 9, 2011 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  17. Robrob

    Palin reaps what she has sown.

    January 9, 2011 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  18. Kevin O'Neill

    We don't know whether, or how, this was politically motivated, but if it was it should be no surprise. According to the right wing, Fox News, Limbaugh crowd, to be a Democrat, or (gasp) a liberal is akin to being unAmerican. Sarah Palin had this Congresswoman in her "sights" during the last campaign. The hatred and vitriol on the right to anyone else is incredibly destructive, and is tearing the country apart.

    January 9, 2011 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  19. Monem Shafik

    I feel sad & disappointed:Our Country is the world leader of freedom and democracy and I hope that such a lunacy that lead to the tragedy of killing five people and injuring many others in Arizona, will not be a reason for counter attack...We are not in a jungle...We need to adhere to self control and put America above all our political differences...Violence is not the solution and will never be.

    January 9, 2011 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  20. Doug

    The whole bit about the cross hairs is total stupidity. This just makes anyone that comments on it in media or gov't look like an idiot. Sadly, one idiot shown in the video was the congresswoman that was shot today. Apparently she already had brain damage.

    When the sheriff said there may be reason to believe this individual may have mental issues, he showed he has mental issues, stupidity. Duh, of course the shooter has mental issues. Any idiot can tell you that.

    January 9, 2011 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  21. Jay in NC

    Are you all forgetting that one of the people killed, Roll, was Republican appointed? I think CNN is trying to spin this as an attack on Democrats. Look at all the hate and 'death to Bush' posters and where was the concern then. There is hate out there, it is from the left, but do not expect the media to ever consider that.

    January 9, 2011 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  22. crosshair

    Palin won't get it, she will never understand why placing crosshairs over Giffords could possibly be negative. She isn't smart enough to understand that words have power only when they influence others to action. For years now Palin has been using the language of war and killing and violence and those words sink in. They bring people to acton. And the result is this. Now Palin's supporters will plead ignorance too.

    January 9, 2011 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  23. Josh

    Briston Palin will have a warm and heartfelt welcome in Arizona. That's for sure!

    January 9, 2011 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  24. Josh

    Sarah Palin incited violence in a well documented way. Her conviction as coconspirator should come easily!

    January 9, 2011 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  25. Gabe

    This article is political exploitation at it's highest. The author of this article is just a much a monster for trying to somehow use this horrible tragedy for political gain...before the people killed can even be buried. The shooter was obviously extremely mentally unstable and didn't have any links to any political parties. Exploitation articles like this make me sick to my stomach.

    January 9, 2011 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
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