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. Unbelievable

    The sheriff should stick to investigation, apprehension and incarceration and leave politics and his political agenda to himself. Trying to link this tragedy in any way with Gov. Palin is remarkable and baseless.

    January 9, 2011 04:44 am at 4:44 am |
  2. BeverlyNC

    One more reason for ALL media to stop posting anything Palin says or does. She is an idiot, a hate-filled ignorant nobody who lives for publicity. Her constant use of gun terms, targeting people, and her outright racism during the McCain campaign makes it past time to remove her comments from all public media. She has nothing to offer and her vitriol definitely added to the reason Congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head today. Palin had Giffords on one of her "reload target lists" for supporting healthcare reform. Congresswoman Giffords had already expressed concern that such irresponsible actions like what Palin did was dangerous and sadly today it came true. Of course Palin takes no responsibility for her violence-inducing actions. For God's sakes – get Palin off and keep her off all media. She is a nobody with nothing to offer. She is uneducated, a terrible mother, a non-leader, a quitter, and a hate-filled moron ignorant of all history and how our government works. Get rid of her and FOX off our airwaves.

    January 9, 2011 04:44 am at 4:44 am |
  3. ben

    what does this story have to do with sara palin? The desperaterly attempted association of this tragedy and responsibility is transparent of cnn's bias.

    January 9, 2011 04:57 am at 4:57 am |
  4. Bassackwards

    Nice going Sarah. Who's next?

    January 9, 2011 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
  5. Jim Robinson

    Sara Palin should at least help the shooter pay for his legal defense. Sara had "We've diagnosed the us find a solution" and then a gun-sight in each district. So Sara, he helped you, now help him.

    January 9, 2011 05:05 am at 5:05 am |
  6. Rich

    Sarah Palin is guilty of murder.

    January 9, 2011 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  7. Jay Barnett

    What a sick, disgusting, but classic leftist, thing to do. You lament the vitriolic nature of political discourse, and then stretch to lay some level of blame for this act at the feet of Sara Palin because it advantages your political persuation. The man was a nut job with no clear political leaning. He was an atheist, too. Are you going to link him to all the atheists out there? Have you no shame?

    January 9, 2011 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  8. Chris T

    I agree with the Sheriff when I was in DC last year I stopped at a Starbucks not far from the White House and a lady who seemed schizophrenic was talking to herself for 30 minutes about the government in a extremely panicked state as if someone was attacking her. She then started talking to me putting down every aspect of the government and urger myself and and others in the Starbucks to attend our weekly Tea Party meeting. I did not think she was violent but if she hod those tendencies I would not of put it past her to harm an elected official.

    January 9, 2011 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
  9. neil

    Palin can stick her prayers where the sun don't shine.6 people dead because of her stupid political agenda.Make no mistake,she has blood on her hands.

    January 9, 2011 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  10. BD70

    What these people forget is the fact there are some who will take it the next step. Palin ought to be ashamed and hide her head in the sand. Her apologies are a bit too late. Granted I am assuming this guy was influenced in some way by her but still. Violence be it in words not actions still begets violence in both words and actions of some.

    January 9, 2011 05:29 am at 5:29 am |
  11. Oh-Please

    "Giffords had history with Palin, Tea Party" What history? A poster? He has a stronger link with the author of this article – both are nut-jobs.

    January 9, 2011 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  12. no fool

    Yes Palin's rhetoeric is partly to blame as is the ready availability of guns to all, no matter how immature or deranged. Palin constantly used deadly, violent imagery. As the Rep said so prophetically, there are repercussions for such abuse of free speech when repeated over and over again in a context of demonizing all who disagree with demagogues like her and Limbaugh etc

    January 9, 2011 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  13. Cynthia, NJ

    To Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik I applaud you, I applaud you, I applaud you. It is time to put an end to these politicians and their cash cows who do nothing but go around the country preaching hate and inflaming the public. My heart breaks to know that a 9 year old little girl lost her life because irresponsible adults care more about POWER than the harm they cause with their rhetoric.

    God Bless America

    January 9, 2011 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  14. aliou salam

    1-my condolences to those who lost ones in this tragedy. I also want to say my prayers to those still fighting for their lives. Mrs Giffords was a hero, just for representing her constituents and her brand of political action in Arizona. We all have to take the action of this murderer in its context. It is a terrorist act committed against an unsuspecting crowd. The gunner killed many people. The Governor Jan Brewer and her tea party rhetoric in Arizona should be held accountable. The Republican party, John Brehner and all the leadership should be held accountable for the hate they spew every day on all venues. They are creating the American Taliban and giving them the public face they needed to consolidate their belief and hate.
    We all should take time to check with our own conscience: Do we want America to turn into a Taliban country? Do we want to let religious and political fanatics to take charge in our country? Let's us regain our senses before it is too late.

    January 9, 2011 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  15. Jim Smith

    Wow – you guys are really reaching here! Showing your true colors by attempting to pin anything negative at all on Sarah Palin – no matter how non-existent the connection.

    FYI the Giffords shooter had nothing to do with the Tea Party – he was described by a close friend as "left-wing". But I'm sure you knew that already – don't let the truth get in the way of your agenda...

    January 9, 2011 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  16. Jon

    Anyone candidate that palin is against, we should probably vote for.

    January 9, 2011 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  17. NJ Mom

    I am astounded at the complete ignorance of Palin. Did she not realize she was inciting violence? Or was she courting it? Why does any news outlet give her a voice? She needs to be shut down now, beginning today. I hope news organizations will have the courage to do so.

    January 9, 2011 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  18. The Great Dictator

    Sad to see this happen, I'm sure this was a act of a demented soul and not a political statement made against either party. However ALL POLITICIANS need to remember to vote the will of their districts not vote simply their personal feeling. If you can't perform this task don't run for office, if you choose to ignore the folks, you run the risk of retaliation....sometimes this is unfortunately violent. The people in America are no longer sitting on the sidelines; they intend to hold their government responsible. If you disenfranchise the voters you are going to have violence.

    January 9, 2011 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  19. Dylan Korta

    pfffffft. anyone with any brain knows those tea partiers are secretly giggling with glee.... notice that palin said she offered her prayers ON BEHALF OF TODD AND HER FAMILY. not mention of hers. if you ask me, i'd guess the only thing she's praying for tonight is that Giffords doesn't survive

    January 9, 2011 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  20. once upon a horse

    get ready for a BIG blow back from the right on this topic and I bet that sheriff in Arizona that made comments blaming un-named radio and television announcers is going to be attacked by them, especially Limbaugh, come Monday morning. The Palin defenders will be out in force too. This tragic situation might have been fueled by some of their rhetoric, but we are also dealing with a person or persons that have NO respect for human life, didn't matter if they shot sn person who was to the right or left. This finger pointing to me is only going to make things worse and not better.

    January 9, 2011 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  21. Anonymous

    this is a sad day for us all ... but dragging sarah palin into it with no knowledge of the killers intention is hate speech too just like the sherrif said ... cnn should be ashamed

    January 9, 2011 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  22. Iowaeyes

    Sarah Palin is responsible for this hatred, Hannity, Glen Beck, O'Rielly. All of Fox News. They should all accept responibilty for what they have said. "Reload", Sarah, you are toast. So sad for our country and evil these few have unleashed.

    January 9, 2011 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  23. Marco

    Bad choices blooming into violent consequences, I hope we civilize out debating culture.

    January 9, 2011 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  24. Crooked Bridge

    At what point is the media going to focus on what Palin truly is? She is a spiteful and unqualified dimwit incapable of any form of real leadership. Inciting the ignorant and unstable cannot be accepted as passable, acceptable or excusable.

    January 9, 2011 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  25. jeff

    palin is at fault on this shooting.. just look at her writings .. she is a menace...

    January 9, 2011 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
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