Giffords email: Need to 'tone our rhetoric and partisanship down'
January 10th, 2011
02:19 PM ET
12 years ago

Giffords email: Need to 'tone our rhetoric and partisanship down'

Washington (CNN) - Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, sent an email the night before she was shot at an event in Tucson calling for a more civil tone in politics.

Giffords offered congratulations to Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, a Republican, after he was named Director of Harvard University's Institute of Politics on Friday.

"After you get settled, I would love to talk about what we can do to promote centrism and moderation," Giffords wrote in the email, provided to CNN by Grayson. "I am one of only 12 Dems left in a GOP district (the only woman) and think that we need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down."

Read the full email:

Dear Trey,

Congratulations! Wow! This is a fantastic position and a perfect fit for you. As a State Senator I participated in the 3-week State and Local leader's program and have never forgotten it. Hard to forget Marty Linksky.

After you get settled, I would love to talk about what we can do to promote centrism and moderation. I am one of only 12 Dems left in a GOP district (the only woman) and think that we need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down.

Mark and I will come visit after you get settled. Again, congratulations. This is truly an incredible opportunity that will lead to wonderful things.


Filed under: Gabrielle Giffords
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. ABM

    I hope people get the message now.

    January 10, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. Pasta Fazooli

    Has Sarah Palin gone into hiding?. Her silence speaks volumes. What a coward!! leaving her subordinates to do the spinning.

    January 10, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  3. Before the facts....!

    CNN and other media pointed fingers and stirred-up hate before: "the who and what" they and their pundits played the blame game accusing others except themselves.....The media today on all levels is responible for most of the negative events in the country.........!

    January 10, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. Debra Beeevers

    This was not a politically motivated act. This young man was extremely troubled and disturbed. Why are you trying to tie this in with politics?Can this not just be about a crazy person doing something crazy?

    January 10, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. Katie

    Agreed. Let's start with that piece of human excrement – rush limbaugh who's complaining that the dems are playing politics. Well, Mr. limbaugh has been playing with peoples lives with his vitriolic rhetoric. Beck too – his delusional rants have been fueling the fire – both need to tone way down. Better yet, they should crawl back under their rocks, or join the cirucs – neither offers anything constructive to the dialogue.

    January 10, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  6. DIANA

    RIP to those who lost their lives. Representative Gifford – I pray for a speedy recovery and strength to your family and those who lost a loved one.

    January 10, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. Mary225

    Rep. Giffords is a class act. Now if only the Republican party will listen to her prophetic words. To John Boehner: Please be a leader and tell your party to tone it down ALOT and tell the Birthers, the "Obama is a Muslim" crowd, the Death Panelists, the Palinbots "Reload" campaigners and Hit List crowd, the Tea Baggers racial bigots, the Anti-First Lady groups, etc. to stop their nonsense or the Republican Party will abandon them. Have some real discussions about Fox News, Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh, Palin, Bachman, and their contributions to all of the nasty rhetoric. Republicans: This is your chance to send Palin packing. Follow Barbara Bush's advice and send her back to Alaska. Establishment Republicans can't stand Palin anyhow, so use this as the tipping point and end her political career and stop making excuses for her. Stop being greedy and taking the money Palin brings in, and stand for something for once in your life.

    January 10, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    What a wonderfully warm and sincere congratulatory e-mail from one colleague to another. I was beginning to think that this type of civility was completely lost in today's highly charged political atmosphere.

    As an aside, I have found the Weeper of the House's comments in regards to this incident, unacceptable at best. An Op-ed column in the Washington Post stated (paraphrased) that for a man that could cry at the drop of a hat, Boehener's "tears" were glaringly missing.

    Whereas those of us with full use of our senses can SOMETIMES filter out the hype, and distortion of what passes for political discourse these days, those who are mentally unstable like this yound man appeared to have been, cannot or will not. Thusly when they are led to believe by those in positions of prominence that the government is trying to kill his granny; or that the President is a corrupt, Socialist, union toady who is not a citizen and not one of us; or that blood needs to be spilled to protect our country and our laws; or that immigrants are beheading people in the desert; or that we need to stay armed and dangerous to protect ourselves to fight the energy tax; or, heaven forbid, that Democrats in this particular district in Arizona need to be TAKEN OUT.....are we surprised by the actions of the maladjusted? And will the irresponsible purveyors of said eloquence be allowed to walk away unscathed by at the very least public condemnation and outrage?
    Not by this public!

    January 10, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  9. Bill

    Even Rep. Giffords knew there was a problem... God Bless her!

    January 10, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. LIP

    The world is full of extremists, whether left wing or right wing and every once in a while one of them will lose their mind and do senseless things. Ms Gifford would be the first to acknowledge this and she would be the last to point an accusatory finger at anyone trying to blame any one ideological group for what has happened.

    January 10, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. Burnham

    It is such a sad and unnecessary disaster that occurred Saturday to Rep Gabby and several others. I am of the opinion that much of the blame goes to Sarah Palin, Glen Beck, Rep Bachman, Rep West and so many other Reublican and Tea Baggers. Now we see that Republicans want to step back but their choices have disasterous consequences. Both Republican leaders McConnell and Boehner should feel guilt in a big way for their role. Lets look at how they both disrespect our president and neither one has ever stood up and called out the birthers. Then who can forgot YOU LIE Rep Joe Wilson at last years' State of the Union? We have citizens showing up strapped with their guns like they are getting ready to try out for a TV western. Rep West was going to hire a female that point blank said she would come to Washington to shake up with her 2nd admendment rights. Then you have the nut case Sharon Angle and the Republican Tea Baggers list goe on and on. Yes there are too many Republican and Tea Baggers' finger prints on the handle of Jared's gun. So, Republicans you have to take responsibility for feeding into the mentally challenged individuals and of course we canNOT forget to show FIX News hand prints on the handle because they have too many shows with nothing but lies and negativity about our president and the government.

    January 10, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. Esme

    This email is chilling – and beautiful. That is the tone, the kind of politician we should root for.

    Yes, I do blame hateful rhetoric and actions on Tea Party people who speak of evil as they point to others different from themselves while literally holding guns in their hands. I will never forget the rally during the election when Palin was introduced by a police officer in uniform; and within minutes of taking the podium as teh audience hurled nastiness about Obama into the air, she said nothing, nothing but smiled: even when the yell was Death to Obama. I cried. And here we are today...

    And trying to put our current President in this category – It is laughable if not so tragic. He is counter opposite of Palin, Mr. Limb, Beck and Co.

    They may not be pulling a trigger, but they are with all purpose bringing out the worst in people, they breed terrorism and hate even within the borders of our country. How is that patrionism and respect for our constitution, free speech, free religion and the soldiers who put there lives on the line to fight those that look to kill Americans and what we stand for?

    January 10, 2011 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. Nadeem

    WOW – just WOW

    No of course the GOP and Tea Party folks will say this is irrelevant, or somehow blame the President.

    January 10, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, Rep. Giffords, and with all the victims of the tragedy on Saturday. My hope is that the purveyors of hate will take your email message to heart and learn to be civil.

    January 10, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. Pat

    Get a dose of realism people, the republican party has done nothing but lie to us for years. They claimed they'd make huge spending cuts now today (after they got their election) the claim is hypothetical? They got elected on falsehoods the American public wasn't smart enough to see and now their whole purpose will be to widen that gap between the upper and lower income groups, because that is what is financially beneficial to them! They want to prevent or repeal any measure that might be good for us average Americans, watch and see! I would hope that the voters wise up by 2012 but I doubt it, they would prefer to be led around by the nose by a pack of lying thieves. Has anyone noticed that Obama's approval rating is at 50 percent, according to the latest Gallup poll, and disapproval is at 43 percent (Jan 4, 2011). That's better than Clinton in 1995 and Reagan in 1983. Obama will be re-elected, especially after the Republicans go after Social Security. It's about priorities. How can we afford tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent but not Social Security? The Republicans in the House are just wasting time and money if they try to repeal Obama's Health Plan. The Mandate doesn't even take effect until 2014. If they don't fund the Health Plan, thousands of Americans will be hurt. Children with pre-existing conditions will not be covered. That alone can put American families into debt. Seniors will not get help in paying for their drugs, which can put them in debt. Children up to age 26 will be removed from the parents’ health insurance, and therefore will have no coverage. Insurance Companies will put a lifetime cap on those who are insured, that can put many Americans in debt. Those insured will have to pay out of pocket for preventative tests like mammograms and colonoscopies. Many cancers will not be detected. These are items in Obama's Health Plan that are so very important to us. Why is it that the Republicans care more about getting tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, but don't give a hoot about taking away these important benefits from those who are protected under Obama's Health Plan? But you and I both know they won't do anything to benefit the little guy. Why would anyone want to eliminate their own gravy train? Why would anyone want to be unable to curry favor with lobbies, unions and special interest groups which give them money, goodies and sweetheart deals? Why would anyone want to give up their six-figure salaries and Cadillac benefits? Why would anyone want to give up their power and influence? The GOP won in 2002 because America was reeling from 9/11 and the GOP shamelessly traded on that fear. They depicted anyone who dissented with them on anything as unpatriotic. In other words, they capitalized on the deaths of 3000 people while letting the perpetrators escape. Let's not forget that the bulk of that deficit was due to Bush era policies and budgets. The recent economic meltdown is due to unrestrained greed by the corporate community has been encouraged by Republicans since Reagan fired Paul Volker after Volker saved us from that mess. Of course he was fired as soon as he said that we needed to regulate banks to prevent what eventually happened just has he predicted. Yet no one wants to remember the fact of this history! Republicans don't care about big government. They care about big money and big business, no matter that they are bringing down the rest of the country. In spite of this, those that would rather listen to Glen Beck than be confused by facts continue to elect these idiots even though they are only hurting themselves. Have these miscreants no shame? They have lied constantly to misinform their supporters about the health reform plan (remember death panels and socialized medicine and giving petty bureaucrats life and death power over patients?). Now, armed with these hopeless misunderstandings, they persist with their false arguments’ that "the American people" detest "Obamacare" and want it repealed. This gives the Democrats the chance they have so far failed to win – – give the American people the facts and show the hubris and deceit of Republicans and Tea Partiers. What the right wing wants is to make sure that more than 30 million uninsured Americans stay uninsured unless they can pay their way.

    January 10, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Mike Dallas

    I predict Palin will have to end her quest to to "take back OUR White House" due to multiple lawsuits from the Giffords Family
    which will take place in a civil court room with a judge and a jury, not in the parking lot of a Safeway.

    And before you Cons in denial about Palin's culpability in this Slaughter of the Innocents, and say she is not at fault, let me remind you of this lawsuit.

    A little old lady goes to MickeyD's and buys coffee which she then proceeds to set between her legs and spills and she sues and wins, approximately 2 million dollars.

    McDonalds was found to be at fault.

    Going out on a limb here, but I am pretty certain the McDonalds corporation did not have a set of cross-hairs, please excuse me, I meant "surveyor symbol" over this particular elderly lady's crotch and list her name as the #4 "target" on the Coffee in the Crotch Caper graphics
    So, maybe this is not the end of Palin's reality TV future, if as I hope, the Giffords win every dime of hers, then she will need to return to once again "fleece her flock of sheeple"!

    Perhaps a new book, entitled "How My Brilliant Political Career was Ended and I was the Victim of the Great Lamestream Media Smear, Accusing my Graphics in which I Listed Gabrielle Giffords as Victim #4 and Then Placed Surveyor Symbols Which Were Mysteriously and Mistakenly Taken to be the Cross Hairs of a High Powered Rifle Over Giffords District 8 and Then Somehow, and Appalling to Me That a Mentally Unstable Patriot Mistakenly Took This Innocent Graphic and my Tweets Not to Retreat but Reload as a Call to Arms".

    January 10, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  17. billy

    Heart breaking. Democrats talk about responsibility and consequences of words and Republicans just keep on piling on the hate speech and then make excuses.

    January 10, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. obama2012

    Man she sounds like a true champion for her people in AZ. Now watch the neo cons spin this.

    January 10, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "Never mind that the alleged shooter was targeting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords since back in '07, way before Paling came on the scene"

    Never mind that he didn't bother to actually purchase a gun and act on anything until this past November, when the Teatard Revolutionary This-Is-Our-Country-Not-Yours Rhetorical Chorus reached it's crescendo.

    You'd be just fine and 100% correct to point out that no real facts exist yet showing any actual causal connection between this kid's actions and rhetoric from Jaberwocky Barbie and other right wing exrtemists. Trying to spin it back on liberals or anyone who is overreaching by trying to draw that connection without appropriate support...that's just joining them in the deep end, not winning the argument or one-upping anyone. From all reports, the kid was sick in the head and may have acted anyway...or there may be a loose connection between his behavior and the political climate of fear, anger, distrust, conspiracy theories and violent revolutionary themes that people like Jaberwocky Barbie and the Limbot have strived so hard to create in their efforts to tear down Obama and the Dems and make them fail. Try listening to the reasonable people: you'll recognize them as the ones not overreaching and discussing this all in context, i.e., that there may be no affirmative causal link, but that events like this certainly justify reflecting upon just what kind of role the vitriolic rhetoric and behavior from people like JB actually plays in creating the climate in which they take place.

    January 10, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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