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Tuesday
Jan182011

Sarah Palin Addresses Her Public Image in Wake of Tucson Shooting

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In her first interview since the shootings in Tucson, Arizona, Sarah Palin spoke Monday night with conservative commentator Sean Hannity on Fox News, where she is also a paid contributor.

A subdued and somewhat somber Palin discussed the shooting and its aftermath, saying, "we mourn with those who mourn and grieve with those who grieve."

But the former Alaska governor ardently defended her statements from both before and after the deadly rampage. She insisted that the map her political action committee used last year to place Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' district in crosshairs was hardly original political imagery.

"Democrats have been using it for years," she said, adding that she had been "falsely accused of being accessory to murder."

The criticism from the left and some in the media was politically motivated, said Palin. "Those on the left hate my message and will do all that they can to stop me."

Palin asserted that some of the continued focus on her after the shootings was meant to derail Republican action in Washington and "divert and distract from issues at hand that must be addressed today."

Palin seemed most irate over the notion that her reaction to the shootings has been insensitive. "The most frustrating part," she told Hannity, "is the idea that we have interjected ourselves into this story."

Palin justified her video statement on Facebook last week saying, "My defense wasn't self-defense, it was defending those who were falsely accused."

Several times during the interview, Palin made a point of saying, "This isn't about me." Quoting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., she said she is speaking out because "a lie cannot live."

That language might be designed to counter souring public opinion. According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, out Monday, only 30 percent of Americans approve of the way Palin responded to the Tucson shootings, compared with 78 percent approval for President Obama's response. Forty-six percent of those polled disapprove of Palin's response, including 32 percent who say that they "strongly disapprove."

Perhaps more troubling for the Palin team, fewer than half of Republicans -- 48 percent -- say they approve of her response.

Palin also dodged questions about whether she would run for president, but said, "I am going to continue to speak out. They are not going to shut me up. … I'll take the darts and the arrows because I know others have my back, and I have their back."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio