2008: Sarah Palin blamed by the US Secret Service over death threats against Barack Obama

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To those who disagree that hate speech and incitement by the right, or anyone, don't motivate violence:

Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama's patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign.

The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.

The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.

But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.

The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks.

I disagree with those who blame Sarah Palin and others directly for what happened in Arizona. I do, however, hold those on the right responsible for adding to the climate of hatred and anger that affects those who are more likely to take action because of it.

Their words matter. Their attitude matters. And the fact that, to this day, those who persisted in giving hostile speeches and encouraged a threatening mob mentality refuse to take any type of Olbermannesque pledge to dial it back, to apologize, adds to their irresponsibility and disregard for human life.

Political power and winning aren't everything. Lives are at stake. The safety and well-being of this country are at stake. Why is that so difficult for them to grasp?

Relevant segment at about 5:10.

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  • I call it the "hornet's nest" theory. They smack the hornet's nest, and aim it at those they dislike - and then are "shocked and appalled" that anyone could think that someone might get stung.

  • Anon

    Strange, but after the sherriff of Tuscon made his statement, he came under attack - but by the right!
    No one on the left disagreed with him, I guess the right wing knew all along which side he must be talking about.
    There is an old saying - If the cap fits - you must wear it.
    The cap fitted the right just fine!

  • If there are gasoline fumes, dry paper, kerosene, wood and or other kindling around and you light a match and carelessly toss it having the "how did that happen" look on your face when a fire starts is not a defense of said negligence.

    You won't shut Rush Limbaugh up, so the resultant rolling of shit won't stop either. And yes I say Rush because he's got the biggest mouth, it would take HIM saying enough is enough to maybe start the process. Because personally I think this train he has started may have too much steam even for him to slow down and change course on.

    We can have heated debates, we can SOMETIMES devolve into name calling, but the second you try to take someones life because you feel you are "righter" than them and thus their life should be forfeit we have lost the value of whatever we are discussing. And yes I have dreamed a time or too about the "Dinosaurs dieing off", but naturally or through their own actions not at the edge of any weapon I might be wielding. And if they haven't come out to repudiate it then yes they are to blame and know they are to blame. If you unleash the rabid hounds and do not round them up when you see them laying waste to your neighbors land, live stock and family no you did not order it, but you also did nothing to stop it.