Pawlenty defends Palin but differs on crosshairs map
January 11th, 2011
08:52 AM ET
9 years ago

Pawlenty defends Palin but differs on crosshairs map

Washington (CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Monday he would not have used a map with crosshairs to target Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and other Democrats during the midterm elections, but otherwise defended Sarah Palin from suggestions that her graphic may have influenced the man behind last weekend's shooting spree in Arizona.

"It's not a device I would have chosen to do. Everyone has their style and their own choices," Pawlenty told the New York Times when asked about the map. "But I don't want to have anyone infer that there's evidence in this case that it caused or was a contributing factor. We don't know that."

Pawlenty, an all-but-certain contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, is undertaking a media blitz this week to promote his new book, "Courage To Stand," which hits bookshelves Tuesday.

He elaborated on the Arizona shooting – and the contentious political debate that immediately followed - in another interview with the St. Petersburg Times.

"To draw some broad judgment or condemnation or conclusion based on the acts of a madman, particularly when all the facts aren't even in, is I think premature and unfair," he said. "There's no indication at present that this gentleman did anything that he did because of what Sarah Palin did or didn't do."

Pawlenty told the Florida paper he plans to announce his campaign "in a few months."

And speaking to the New York Times, he said the Republican primary will reveal a choice between Republicans standing on rhetoric, and those with a proven record of fighting for conservative principles.

He has pointed to his refusal to compromise on a 2005 Minnesota budget – a deadlock with the legislature that led to a partial state government shutdown – as an example of his political determination.

"The real question," Pawlenty said, is "who, really, based on their life story, who really, based on their record, has demonstrated that kind of fortitude? Not just to talk about it. Not just to flap their jaw. Not just to offer failed amendments. To get it done."

Filed under: Sarah Palin • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Ian

    You have right-wing politicians suggesting that if they don't win their seat that your 2nd Amendment rights should be exercised; a clear indication they think a violent over-throw of a democratic process is appropriate. Next, Loughner parroted much of the very same right-wing extremist rhetoric, tried to kill a Democrat, and did kill 6 of her proported supporters.
    And you think the left is nuts for thinking there's something wrong and perhaps possibly connected here?

    January 11, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  2. wiredweirdoinSF

    I heard Pawlenty on NPR describing the difference between the democrat lbieral philosophy and the conservative philosophy yesterday and he compared it to the difference in going to a wedding reception with an open bar and a cash bar. I believe that was pretty profound in its insights and and imagery.

    January 11, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. TangledThorns

    Another reason why Pawlenty will never get the nomination and shows why Sarah Palin will beat Obama in 2012.

    January 11, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. Leo

    I do agree that it would be speculation to draw conclusions without all the facts in, however, if it didn't mean any harm, why did Palin remove the map and her tweet right after it happened? Did she all the sudden feel guilt or regret? If she did, did something like this had to happen for her to realize the wrongness of her rhetoric?

    And, if at the end of the investigation they conclude that this act was not politically motivated, does that mean politicians can continue engaging in hate speech?

    January 11, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. Greg Smith

    Regardless of whether this incident was influenced by crosshairs on a map or verbal rhetoric which used violent metaphors those things are wrong in a civil discourse. To take politics to that level is desparate and has nothing good to offer. People on both sides of the aisle who refuse to reject and condemn them should not be supported in any political endeavor.

    January 11, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. KatR

    Palin's graphic did not DIRECTLY inspire the gunman. However, that graphic contributed to the already toxic environment that we exist in right environment where a mentally unbalanced citizen could go over the edge. It's time for Palin, Angle, and others to openly apologize for their roles in creating a political landscape that divided rather than united us.

    January 11, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  7. Scooter

    Pawlenty has been a do nothing governor here in Minnesota for the last 8 years.. Thank God his time here is over and we can start to fix the 6 billion dollar mess he left us. . Now he wants to run for President. He is all yours, folks. Good luck! You will need it.

    January 11, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. ficheye

    They are drawing the lines in the sand with sister Sarah. It was inevitable. No matter what political references or influences made that man go berserk, it will always seem like he may have gotten the idea from the only persona who uses guns and gun terminology to make a point. The beginning of the end for the momma grizzly and her brood. Maybe her and the Octomom can start another reality show together. A 'real' reality show, where bad choices finally look you right in the eye. And spit.

    January 11, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. LouAz

    " this gentleman" ??? Palenty's comment indicates the separate fantasy that this Higher Standard politico occupies. Cold !

    January 11, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. bewhiskered

    No, putting Democratic legislators in cross hairs on the Internet is not a device a thoughtful person would have chosen. It is inordinately regrettable that it took the recent horror in Tucson, to underscore how utterly stupid and mean spirited those cross hairs of Palin's were. She is despicable beyond words!

    January 11, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. Freedom of Speech in the USA

    Come on Pawlenty, don't let the leftists use this tragedy to further their attempts to silence their critics by limiting their speech. Get a spine an ddefend the freedom of speech.

    January 11, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. T'sah from Virginia

    What would everyone say if after interviewing Loughner it is learned that he DID follow Bachmann's, Palin's, Becky's, Limbaugh's and Angle's rhetoric and decided to "TAKE OUT" Giffords??? What would Pawlenty say then?

    To show REAL sincerity, Palin should have visited Gaby’s family (because only the Lord knows whether or not the family blames Palin – Gaby blamed her for the vandalism and threats to her office long before this happened). Palin should have apologized for the "insensitivity" of her actions; at least find out from the family what they are feeling and cry and pray with them. Sarah would NOT do that though – it's too late now if she wanted to – LQQK @ her eyes!

    “Palling around with Terrorist” began during Obama’s campaign and it continued until today. That was enough time for people to get a real idea of what Sarah was all about. The RESULT: You either LOVED her or HATED her and the latter is stronger. Therefore, CRAP backfires when what you represent and/or what you believe “materializes” into a tragedy and at that time, it becomes EASY to pass blame.

    Palin further admitted her guilt by removing the post from the web. Did she feel it would be “insensitive” to LEAVE it there? Maybe! Then why didn’t she feel “insensitive” BEFORE placing it there???? Think About It!!!

    Politically, Palin is through!!!

    January 11, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  13. Jim

    Wow, way to do damage control for your buddy. There is no evidence, you are correct. But whether or not it had a direct effect on this young man's actions, Mrs. Palin's choice of iconography was bad. Bottom line. And he has a history of,. through inaction, promoting violence. During the 2008 Presidential Campaign, Mrs. Palin fist called then-Senator Obama a terrorist, then said nothing when people in the crowd started shouting "Kill Him!". So, while she might not have a direct tie to this or any other violent act, it's clear she doesn't oppose them. She lies, stirs hatred, and basically provokes the worst in people, the rides those strong emotions to her own ends.

    January 11, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. Vet in TX

    sounds like Paw-lenty of BS to me. It doesn't matter if this guy was influenced by Palin's signs anymore. The statements have been made, and the opinions have been formed, she did this to herself by her past arrogance and lack of thinking before speaking. Let her downfall be a lesson to all who do things strictly to "rile the base". She has become as toxic as W has to the GOP. You can't feel bad for those who shoot themselves in the foot......both feet to be exact.

    January 11, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. Liberal4Obama

    At least Pawlenty is not a nutjob thats a good start.

    January 11, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. Bay

    The scapegoating of Palin is going to make things even more toxic than they are now. Personally I think she is a nice person but there are better options out there to vote for but Democrats have crossed the line. There is no decency anymore and sadly instead of drawing us together Democrats antics and aspersions are only creating more divisions.

    January 11, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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