Sarah Palin defends her response to the Arizona shootings after her reference to “blood libel” caused controversy last week.
Six people were killed in Tucson including a nine year old child.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was seriously injured and remains in hospital. Doctors say she is making good progress.
The shootings in Arizona have reignited the debate about the rhetoric of US politics.
Blood libel means being falsely accused of having blood on your hands. In this case, that’s exactly what was going on. Sarah Palin
Palin’s reference last week to “blood libel,” a false, centuries-old allegation that Jews were killing children to use their blood in religious rituals, launched a new round of criticism against her.
But the Republican defended her choice of words: “Blood libel obviously means being falsely accused of having blood on your hands. In this case, that’s exactly what was going on,” Palin told Fox News.
“Just two days before, an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal had that term in its title. And that term has been used for eons,” said Palin, a potential 2012 presidential candidate.
She used the term in a video posted on her Facebook page in which she accused her critics of being irresponsible in rushing to blame the shooting rampage in Tucson on vitriolic campaign speech.
The shooting spree killed six people and wounded 13, including US Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Jared Lee Loughner has been charged with the attack.
Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate and a favourite of Tea Party conservatives, had been a focus of criticism from the left since the shootings for urging followers to “reload, not retreat” after last year’s healthcare debate.
She published an electoral map identifying vulnerable Democratic congressional districts, including Giffords’, with rifle cross-hairs.
In the interview on Fox News, to which she is a paid contributor, Palin said the Arizona tragedy should not be allowed to quell vigorous political debate that “makes America exceptional.”
“I am not ready to make an announcement about what my political future is going to be,” she said. “But I will tell you … I am not going to sit down. I am not going to shut up.”
Gabrielle Giffords’ condition was upgraded on Sunday from critical to serious.
Doctors replaced her breathing tube with a tracheotomy tube to allow her to breathe better and free her from the ventilator.
She’s in the ICU. You know, gone through this traumatic injury. And she spent 10 minutes giving me a neck massage. Mark Kelly
In an interview with ABC Gabrielle Giffords’ husband Mark Kelly said his wife recognised him. “She stuck her hand up on the side of my face this morning,” he said.
“I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t do that for somebody else.”
Kelly told ABC that his wife is now moving around enough to give him a back rub.
“[It is] so typical of her,” Kelly said. “She’s in the ICU. You know, gone through this traumatic injury. And she spent 10 minutes giving me a neck massage.
“I keep telling her. I’m like, ‘Gabby, you’re in the ICU. You know, you don’t need…you know, you don’t need to be doing this.’ But it’s so typical of her that no matter how bad the situation might be for her, you know, she’s looking out for other people.”