Sarah Palin, who had been silent for days, on Wednesday issued a forceful denunciation of her critics in a video statement that accused pundits and journalists of â€œblood libelâ€ in their rush to blame heated political rhetoric for the shootings in Arizona. â€œActs of monstrous criminality stand on their own,â€ she said in a video posted to her Facebook page. â€œEspecially 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 that they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.â€
Ms. Palinâ€™s use last year of a map with crosshairs hovering over a number of swing districts, including that of Gabrielle Giffords, had increasingly become the symbol of that overheated rhetoric. In and interview with The Caucus on Monday, potential 2012 rival Tim Pawlenty, the former Republican governor of Minnesota, said he would not have produced such a map.
But in the video, Ms. Palin rejected criticism of the map, casting it as a broader indictment of the basic political rights of free speech exercised by people of all political persuasions.
She said that acts like the shootings in Arizona â€œbegin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state.â€
â€œNot with those who listen to talk radio,â€ she added. â€œNot with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle. Not with law abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their first amendment rights at campaign rallies. Not with those who proudly voted in the last election.â€
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