(WASILLA, Alaska) -- Now is not the time for people to "apportion blame" for the weekend rampage that left six people dead and an Arizona congresswoman clinging to life, Sarah Palin said in a video statement posted on her Facebook page.
"But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn," Palin said.
"That is reprehensible."
Defiant in the face of those who charge that her heated rhetoric encourages such violence, Palin noted that criminals are responsible for their own actions, "not those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle."
"After this shocking tragedy, I listened at first puzzled, then with concern, and now with sadness, to the irresponsible statements from people attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event," she said.
The video followed earlier comments in which Palin said, "I hate violence." That was her reaction to the shooting in Tucson of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others that has once again placed the former Alaska governor in the middle of the national political discussion.
The words were part of an email exchange read by conservative commentator Glenn Beck on his syndicated radio show and first reported by Jonathan Martin on Politico.
Here is the full email as read by Beck:
"I hate violence. I hate war. Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence. Thanks for all you do to send the message of truth and love. And God has the answer. - Sarah"
Palin's comments come amidst the swirl of rhetoric concerning the most discussed "crosshairs" in political memory. On her Facebook page last year, Palin posted a map of 20 Congressional districts being targeted by her political action committee, "SarahPac," in the 2010 midterm election. Gabrielle Gifford's Arizona district was one of them.
At the time Giffords herself responded.
"When people do that, they've gotta realize there are consequences to that action," Giffords said on MSNBC.
Though there are no known ties whatsoever between shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner and Sarah Palin or any part of the Tea Party movement, the "crosshairs" became part of the media coverage of the Tucson shootings from the very beginning.
Rush Limbaugh entered the fray on his radio show today, accusing liberals of "making fools of themselves to take an incident like this and to try to turn it into a political advantage by accusing people that have nothing whatsoever to do with this sordid, unfortunate event, as accomplices to murder. It's silly on its face."
"Don't kid yourself," said Limbaugh. "What this was all about is shutting down any and all political opposition and eventually criminalizing it. Criminalizing policy differences, at least when they differ from the Democrat Party agenda."
Conservative pundits have rushed to Palin's defense. One blogger unearthed graphics produced by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee which featured red target symbols on certain Congressional districts. A graphic produced by the Democratic Leadership Council in 2004 featured bulls' eyes.
Former Pennsylvania Congressman Chris Carney, who himself was in Palin's "crosshairs," told a Pennsylvania newspaper, "I'm not sure if 'blame' is the right word for Ms. Palin, but I think it wasn't helpful, obviously…It would be very useful if she came out and, if not apologize, say that she was wrong in putting that sort of logo on peoples' districts."
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