Several months ago one of Sarah Palin's websites, TakeBackThe20.com, displayed a poster that indicated their intent to defeat twenty Democratic members of Congress, including Gabrielle Giffords, who had voted for "Obama Care."
There was a fair amount of backlash due to the imagery of crosshairs superimposed over the corresponding Congressional districts.
This morning, shortly after the news that Congressman Gabrielle Giffords had been shot, the vigilant folks at SarahPac scrubbed the website of the inflammatory image.
But you can't scrub everything.
The following image is what you would have seen had you gone to TakeBackThe20 yesterday. (The fourth name on the left is that of "targeted" Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords).
From the March 26, 2010 episode of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360 Show."
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: You know, hearing the news reports lately kind of this ginned-up controversy about us, commonsense conservatives, inciting violence because we happen to oppose some of the things in the Obama administration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will do it with our vote!
PALIN: Amen, brother. That's what you do it with, with your vote. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
PALIN: You got it right. We know violence isn't the answer. When we take up our arms, we're talking about our vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, interestingly, she has not taken down that map on her Facebook page. You know the one I mean.
I want to -- let's go over here to the wall. This is the map that a lot of Democrats on Capitol Hill were talking about yesterday, some even talking to security officials about, shows on -- from the Facebook page, Sarah Palin's Facebook page, shows crosshairs here in various congressional districts. She says her PAC is going to target those congressional districts.
She tweeted about not retreating, but reloading, and says about her political action committee -- and I quote -- "We're going to aim for these races and many others. This is just the first salvo" -- unquote.
Now, her supporters say, look, give us a break. She is just using commonly-used phrases. Some Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill have, however, expressed concern.
* * * *
Was Sarah Palin deliberately trying to incite violence against Congresswoman Giffords and the other nineteen "targeted" elected officials? No.
Was the shooting today a direct result of this website? Unlikely but who knows?
Does inflammatory rhetoric and imagery sometimes incite unstable members of society to commit violent acts? Yes.
Do Sarah Palin's political advisers believe that this damages her politically or is it just a coincidence that the website was scrubbed this morning? I don't know about you but I don't believe in coincidences.