Since the House passed health care reform on Sunday, Democratic lawmakers who voted for the bill have received death threats and been victims of vandalism. While some Republicans have condemned these incidents, but on Tuesday, Sarah Palin seemed to fan the flames of discontent by labeling a map of vulnerable lawmakers’ districts with crosshairs on her Facebook page and tweeting, “Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: ‘Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!’” This morning, NBC’s Ann Curry asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) if he believed his former running mate should use less “incendiary” language. McCain condemned any violence but bristled at the suggestion that her use of such violent imagery was inappropriate in light of the atmosphere of threats against lawmakers. “Those are fine. They’re used all the time,” he said:
MCCAIN: Ann, I have seen the rhetoric of targeted districts as long as I’ve been in politics. Please. This is — any threat of violence is terrible, but to say that there is a targeted district or that we “reload” or go back in to the fight again, please….Those are fine. They’re used all the time… Those words have been used throughout of my political career…That rhetoric and kind of language is just part of the political lexicon. [...]
CURRY: I think it is the “reload” and “crosshairs” that’s caused a lot of people to be concerned, Senator.
MCCAIN: Maybe it has and we condemn any violence, any threats of violence. But I’ve heard all of that language throughout my political career…that anger should be channeled into voter registration and go continue the struggle that we’re in to regain America and stop mortgaging our children’s futures.