US Republicans disappointed at Palin's 'blood libel' rant over attack on Giffords

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Washington, Jan 13(ANI): Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin missed a prime opportunity to demonstrate that she can play on the presidential stage when she delivered a video statement on the attack on US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, top Republicans have said.

Giffords, and 18 others were shot on January 8 when a gunman opened fire outside a supermarket where she was meeting with her constituents in Arizona.

The GOP strategists said that Palin was pitch perfect for much of her nearly eight-minute video statement, expressing sympathy for the victims, extolling the virtues of a country trying to rebound, and defending freedom of speech protections.

However, she veered away when she accused the media of committing a "blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn".

"She should have offered prayers and compassion for the victims and let it go at that. This is not about her. A short statement would have been better than a video," Politico quoted GOP strategist Ed Rollins, a veteran of presidential campaigns, as saying.

Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary for former President George W. Bush, said: "She would have done much better if she had just ridden above all the nonsense and the politics of the shooting, including all the references of her map."

"She could have, and should have, set a different tone entirely. She did for 75 percent of the speech, but for 25 percent she did not," he added.

Several political leaders in the country have claimed that Palin's depiction of controversial crosshairs symbols on her Facebook page ahead of the mid-term polls last year led to the attack on Giffords.

Giffords, who is in critical condition after being shot in Tucson, was targeted by Palin when she posted on her Facebook page a U.S. map with crosshairs of a rifle scope over the districts represented by Giffords and 19 other Democrats.

Crosshairs is a political phrase that emerged from Palin's political action committee SarahPac that targeted congressional districts for the Tea Party campaign in the last election, including Giffords' district. (ANI)

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