Message from senators: Tone it down
January 9th, 2011
11:01 AM ET
11 years ago

Message from senators: Tone it down

(CNN) - Following the Saturday shootings in Arizona, senators on both sides of the aisle cautioned against inflamed rhetoric in political discourse while previewing actions of Congress in the weeks ahead.

On Sunday, Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said violent words and images have become too "pervasive in our discussion of political issues."

He specifically referenced the map Sarah Palin released in the lead-up to the Congressional vote on health care that showed crosshairs over contested Democratic districts, but he was careful not to make a direct connection between Palin's words and Saturday's events.

"Don't we have an obligation, those of us in public life and those who cover us to say, 'This is beyond the bounds. It may be constitutionally permissible, but it shouldn't be acceptable rhetoric?" Durbin said on CNN's "State of the Union." "We owe it to our own in both political parties to have at least the good sense and common decency when people say these outrageous things to say, 'Wait a minute, that just goes too far, whether it comes from the right or from the left."

Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander said it's time to "cool it, tone it down, treat each other with great respect," even on issues that often divide politicians, like immigration, taxes and health care. He urged those in public life to "do our best not to inflame passions."

But Alexander said he is not worried about his safety and will continue with his normal schedule.

"I'm going to be at the basketball game on the front row, I'll be at the grocery store in a few minutes," Alexander told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley on Sunday. "We'll be out just like elected officials are supposed to be."

In fact, Alexander said, the first order of business for the new Congress should be addressing the debt, but both he and Durbin said it appears unlikely that a repeal of health care legislation would pass in the Senate.

"I don't believe repeal has any legs in the Senate at this time," Durbin said.

Alexander, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, agreed, saying Democrats have the numbers to prevent a repeal, but that "almost all, if not all" Republicans will vote to repeal the health care law.

However, both senators also appeared open to amending the law. When asked what he would want changed, Durbin pointed to a revision in business tax reporting and Alexander said he favored limiting the expansion of Medicaid in the states.

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Filed under: Arizona • Congress • Dick Durbin • Lamar Alexander • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. JEJ

    Why didn't these republican nimrods tell Sarah Palin, publicly and in no uncertain terms, to tone it down when she came out with her braindead 20 targets poster on her web site, and with her other braindead comments like "don't retreat, reload"? It's too late now to take the high road. Acquiescence means you're just as guilty as the party who does the deed. Those who did not rein in the lipsticked chihuahua are just as much complicit in this murderous act as Palin.

    January 9, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. Monster Zero

    Look out Sara, Roseanne Barr is out to blast you! Todd, Sara and Family, run run...the libs have you in their cross-eyes. In light of what transpired Saturday, we have how many people serving in the military that are exposed to death everyday of their service, bait for IED's or ambush. Why would politicians elected to serve consider themselves any less exposed in a political atmosphere that they themselves have created, have they forgotten the "Days of Rage" that many of them participated in? Where was Obama with the empathy call and unlimited Federal assistance to the families of the fallen border agents murdered by Mexican drug cartels last month, oh that's right he was on vacation?

    January 9, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. Gil

    Already someone has said we have to stop passing crippling bills if we want to stop this. The bills aren't crippling when 35,000,000 Americans who didn't have any health care now do. It is necessary. Stop the color words and say, "You may have your opinions, but I have mine! Let me end it on at this moment with my own opinion! I hate all republicans!

    January 9, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. Mike

    The shooter's motives haven't even been established............but yet it's Palin's fault. Hey Sarah, YOU are the new GWB! You are solely responsible for the actions of every deranged person in America. EVERYTHING is YOUR FAULT!

    January 9, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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