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Tea Party Express fundraises off reaction to Arizona shootings

By Sahil Kapur
Thursday, January 13, 2011 9:09 EDT
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A leading tea party group is raising funds based upon public reaction to the Tucson, Arizona shootings.

In an e-mail sent to supporters Wednesday, the California-based conservative group Tea Party Express invoked the tragic shootings of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and nineteen others, asking for donations to fight back against liberals in the media who cite inflammatory right-wing rhetoric as a possible instigator for such violence.

“Instead of prayers for the victims and their families, the Left was consumed with using this massacre to score political points by blaming the tea party movement, Gov. Sarah Palin and now Rush Limbaugh,” read the e-mail, which was reported by AlterNet.

Six were killed in the Tucson atrocity on Saturday, including federal judge John Roll and an aide to Giffords, and at least a dozen wounded, including Giffords.

Progressives were quick to call on conservatives to tame their rhetoric, pointing to, among other instances, a map of the United States published by Sarah Palin which included crosshairs over various Democratic districts, including Giffords’s.

In a sign that the national dialogue has only grown more rancorous since the attacks, the message claimed liberals were trying to “blame us for a mass murder” and control their speech, adding that “we’re not going to stand for that kind of treatment.”

The e-mail continued (emphasis theirs): “That’s why we’ve asked you for your support.  Let’s show the Left that instead of us being silenced, that there awful attacks on us will only backfire and that the tea party movement will be stronger than ever!”

And it concluded: “Please, make a contribution online right now to the Tea Party Express,” before offering a link for people to donate.

The conservative activist group isn’t alone in referring to the tragedy in fundraising messages.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent, e-mailed supporters wondering if “right-wing reactionaries” spurred the violence, arguing that the incident was “not some kind of strange aberration” given the political climate.

President Barack Obama gave a televised speech about the Tucson shootings Wednesday, urging for national unity and civility in the wake of the horrific murders.

 
 
 
 
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