Giffords email: Need to 'tone our rhetoric and partisanship down'
January 10th, 2011
02:19 PM ET
11 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. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    The rhetoric needs to tone down, but when you've got right wing hate mongerers spreading lies and hate over the airwaves, it's kind of hard to play Mr. Niceguy.

    January 10, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    Partisan politics has been a disease on the federal government. But curing it needs to start at the top. And it has. Obama has just recently shown serious efforts in this regard.

    But still, this crime that Rep. Giffords is a victim of was not about politics. It was a sick young man whose personal problems were manifested in tragic violence.

    January 10, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. Monster Zero

    Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels – men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.
    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    January 10, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. Holly

    She seems like a good woman with a head on her shoulders.

    January 10, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. Expat American

    Here there is evidence of Giffords reaching out to Republicans and suggesting that the rhetoric be toned down; basically going against all the Sarah Palin stands for...

    And still silence from Sarah Palin ..... Where is Palin's bravado now?

    January 10, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. EddyL

    Giffords, a rational woman and a Democrat. And one of Palin's targets.... Palin is despicable.

    January 10, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. Inmyopinion

    From what I've read this guy Laughner did not like the answer Giffords gave him in 2007 to his question and had already made threats in the past so I don't think it matters, makes a difference to people like Laughner if there was or is a more civil tone in politics. Seems to me he had a personal issue with Giffords over her answer regardless of how politicians or the media behave in politics.

    January 10, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. SayWhat

    "we need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down."

    Why are we not hearing this from the people who promote just the opposite? They are too busy denying that things they said or put on the web are responsible for violence. Wake up people. Rupert Murdoch and his minions, as well as numerous other fringe professional insitgators, make a pretty penny by shilling hate and intolerance. Freedom of speech includes (i) the responsibility to make sure that what you say is not meant to harm others and (ii) respect for those whose opinions and positions we do not agree with. Turn a deaf ear (and turn off your radio and TV) to those who make money by preaching divisiveness, intolerance and bigotry.

    January 10, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    May her words touch the Grinch-like hearts of the "Right" wing talking heads and their drooling sycophant parrots.
    May each and all find their thoughts, words and actions out of keeping with the Religiosity they so often claim.
    May they understand the power of words and (if necessary) feel the fear of the power of those words and weigh them with greater care.

    With the understanding that legitimately crazy people hear their words and find them to be calls to action, may they use digression and respect or may they face the strongest of consequences for being thoughtless or purposeful in inciting the unstable.

    January 10, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. Duck Fallas

    "...we need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down."

    What a radical left wing nut. No wonder Palin targeted her.

    January 10, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. jeff, alabama

    This is a class lady and
    I hope she recovers quickly.
    As for some who are trying to
    blame conservative people
    for this shooting disaster,
    all I can say is, they must
    have emotional issues about
    their politics beyond belief.
    The guy who shot this lady and
    the others was a nut case from
    way back. He was an over the edge
    athiest and was a ticking time bomb
    waiting to explode. If you must blame
    someone besides the actual shooter,
    then blame all the people who have come
    forward with the wierd stories about
    the man and never told authorities.
    Politics had nothing to do with his
    And what ever happened to blaming
    the criminal for their own acts ?
    A speedy recovery for Mrs. Giffords.
    And if any of you out there know
    someone the shooter reminds you of
    tell someone about it today !!!

    January 10, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  12. dadeo

    Giffords shooting has nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with a sick indiviual who has no regards for human life. Period.

    January 10, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. BeverlyNC

    She is so right. How long have we been asking FOX to get their show hosts to first, tell the truth,second, stop using hate speech towards President Obama, and finally, stop encouraging violemce against people they disagree with (Bill O'Reilly and the abortion doctor who was murdered after O'Reilly ranted about him over and over). Republicans have been so bitter over losing to a brilliant BLACK man it is all they can focus on. Nuts like Palin are in the news every day. Nuts like Bachmann are out riling up ignorant people with false information. We even have Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell saying publically that the sole goal of the Republican Party was "to destroy President Obama" – not jobs and the economy as the Democrats are focused on. McConnell led Republicans to use 336 filibusters in order to obstruct ALL legislation when a normal numner might be 2 to 5. They have spent all their time in hate-filled and racist rhetoric, so much so, they no longer know how to govern. Just look at the horrible first week Boehner had in the House. Every single day was another list of mistakes that require legal remedies – GOP Congressmen not being sworn in but illegally voting, reading of the Constitution and mistakenly leaving out pages because they stuck together, already breaking every single GOP campaign promise with Boehner not being able to think of a single area of govt spending that could be cut and this from the same GOP who did nothing but try to block all legislation, already saying they will " compromise on nothing" with Democrats to find solutions for the America People. So why are these GOPers even in office if they care nothing about finding solutions to help the majority of Americans and not just their super rich buddies and corporations. Thank God Congresswoman Giffords has an excellent government healthcare plan. Republicans were going to have a "political theater" vote to repeal healthcare reform this week knowing it would never even reach the Senate. Now that Congresswoman Giffords is in use of that healthcare, they have decided to postpone their "show" vote. Republicans are acting shocked anyone would accuse them of the use of their daily hate speech and are trying to divert attention from themselves by daring to accuse President Obama of some 3 word sentence he made in 2008. Republicans use hate and racist speech every single day but are desperately trying to deflect responsibility for their actions. Which Party has the nutjob birthers and the lunatic tea baggers who make threatening statements every single day? Which Party had candidates talking about using guns to settle elections? Republicans need to do a lot of soul-searching, find some human decency, some respect for our very successful President Obama who is turning our economy they destroyed back around (added 1M jobs a month in 2010, unemployment rate dropping each month, saved GM and all their jobs and the jobs depending on GM, saved the banks who destroyed our economy and then put regulations on them to keep them from doing it again, and corporations are showing bigger profits with Ford announcing just today they will hire 7000 workers!) Republicans can't stand their hate agenda has failed and President Obama is succeeding both here and abroad. Why can't they be part of the solution? Why don't they want to help move America forward and have that to sell to the American People? FOX needs to rip their idiots off the air and the GOP needs to remember they were elected to serve, not obstruct and spread hate. We are all Americans and all want our nation to be on top again. God bless Gabby Giffords.

    January 10, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. Stephen in Bedford, TX

    Has anyone ever heard or read Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingrahm, Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity (or anyone at Fox News for that matter), Michael Savage, Rick Perry, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Michelle Bachmann and the list goes on, say "we need to figure out a way to turn the rhetoric down?...I didn't think so.

    January 10, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. Name

    Thank you for publishing her words. I am asking myself all day, how I can carry her vision forward? What can I do as a woman like her to promote centrism and moderation?

    January 10, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. GL

    She was real concerned about the rhetoric and look what happen to her.

    January 10, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. mb

    we need to tone our idiocy down...

    January 10, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. T'sah from Virginia

    Please get well Gaby – You are a true example of what a politician should be all about!! I was rooting for you during the 2010 campaign and I am rooting for you now to get well so you can continue your mission. God Bless you and your family during your speedy recovery!!!

    January 10, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  19. karen from Charlottesville

    She sounds like a lovely person and a good legislator. Let's hope that she be able to continue serving our country.

    January 10, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  20. ja

    the stage was set when Joe Wilson screamed from the gallery that the president was a lie, his fund raising skyrocketed, their is a breakdown of respect, ciivility across the land, the so called leaders are doing lowlife things, so there goes the extremist, and their existance has grown, to wilson, palin, just to name a couple, tone the stupidity down

    January 10, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. Shane

    Gabrielle Giffords is a class act. This is the type of person you want in office. Republicans can learn a lot from her–and from this tragedy. The hateful rhetoric that Giffords complained about over and over again needs to end NOW. And conservatives who argue that the shooter had been targeting Giffords since 2007, so therefore it had nothing to do with the current rhetoric, are so wrong. He may have been targeting her in the past, but it was all the CURRENT hateful speech that SET HIM OFF!. You can't go around saying "reload" and then shoot a gun and say "Help remove Gabriell Giffords" and not expect the nuts to take your words literally.

    January 10, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  22. Patriots Salute the Flag! Traitors don't!!!

    You see she was at the beggin stage of trying to get you immoral Liberals to stop your bashing of political figures.. You and the media are the root cause of the shooting of Gifford by another Liberal.

    January 10, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. Squigman

    A voice of reason. Why not listen to this voice, as opposed to the voices that agitate, and express hate and mistrust? Or would this entail utilization of too many brain cells?

    January 10, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. ReallY!!?

    Where was the outrage when Hollwood produce not one but 2 movies about assasiation of then sitting President Bush? Where were the calls to tone down the rhetoric then? I also see the media is not reporting that this man Jared stalked Giffords since 2007 – long b/4 there was any Tea Party or Sarah Palin. Exactly what is Jared political affiliation? Why r they discrediting the liberal woman that came out and said Jared was a leftist Loon? Can those in the media blaming Palin & conservatives trace on his computer that he visted Palins website? No they cannot. It is disgraceful to politicize this incident! It is a tragedy no matter which side of the isle u r on? There s/b an investigation into Pima County to see how may complaints were made against this Jared guy and what the idiot Sheriff did?

    January 10, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. Shelby

    It is such a shame that this horrific tragedy happened to such a warm and sensible public servant. Get well Gabby. And shame on you sarah palin and Foxnews.

    January 10, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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