Former US vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has posted an eight-minute video on her Facebook page reacting to the Tucson shootings, as Barack Obama arrives in Arizona.
In the video Sarah Palin accuses “journalists and pundits” of inciting hatred and violence following the Arizona shooting spree which left six people dead and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords gravely ill.
A year ago Palin targeted the district where Giffords won power as one of 20 that should be taken back.
Palin has been criticised for marking each district with the cross hairs of a gun sight. But earlier she hit back, posting an eight minute presidential-style address on Facebook.
She said: “… within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a ‘blood libel’ which serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn.
“That is reprehensible.
“There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical, individual.
“And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those calm days when political figures literally settled their differences with duelling pistols?”
The term “blood libel” refers to the anti-Semitic belief that Jews killed Christian children in medieval times. It has attracted immediate criticism, not least because Gabrielle Giffords is Jewish. Palin ended the video calling on “God’s guidance and the peace he provides”.
Palin also compared the Tucson attacks to the terror strikes on 11 September 2001.
She said: “Recall how the events of 9/11 challenged our values? We had to fight the tendency to trade our freedoms for perceived security.
“And so it is today. Let us honour those precious lives cut short in Tucson by praying for their families and cherishing their memories. Let us pray for the wounded, and let us pray for our country.
“In times like thse, we need God’s guidance and the peace he provides. We need strength to not let the random acts of a criminal turn us against ourselves or weaken our soild foundation, or provide a pretext to stifle debate.
“America must be stronger than the evil we saw displayed last week. We are better than the mindless finger-pointing that we endured in the wake of the tragedy.”
President Obama will address thousands of people later at a memorial service for the victims of last Saturday’s attacks.
Gabrielle Giffords is breathing on her own and doctors say they are hopeful for her recovery. The suspect in the shooting, Jared Lee Loughner, is being held on five federal charges, including the attempted assassination of Giffords.