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Posted at 1:14 PM ET, 01/ 9/2011

Tucson shooting, economy, health care top Sunday shows

By Felicia Sonmez and Emi Kolawole


Reid: Tea party "will disappear" once economy improves

In an interview recorded before Saturday's incident, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pushed for an increase in the nation's debt ceiling, saying that "we can't back out on the money we owe the rest of the world. We can't do as the Gingrich crowd did a few years ago, close government." Reid also predicted that the tea party movement "will disappear as soon as the economy gets better, and the economy is getting better all the time."

Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) discussed the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

Franks said it was "ironic" that Giffords had read the First Amendment at Wednesday's live reading of the Constitution on the House floor. "And yet when she was out, exercising that right, when she was out doing her job as a member of Congress, some deranged degenerate shot her down. And I will tell you, that I think that's an attack not only on freedom and the country itself; it's an attack on humanity," Franks said. Grijalva said that "we're all connected to this tragedy," noting that the mother of Gabe Zimmerman, the Gifford staffer who was killed in Saturday's attack, "gave me the first job I ever had in that community." Wasserman Schultz said the incident should be a "wake-up call" for members who had "treated ... their own personal security in a cavalier way." Cleaver said that "we are in a dark place in the country right now, and the atmospheric condition is toxic. And much of it originates here in Washington, D.C."


Giffords intern: "My first instinct" was to make sure Giffords was all right

Daniel Hernandez, a 20-year-old intern for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) whose quick action Saturday may have saved the lawmaker's life, said that his first instinct was to run to Giffords' side. "When the shooting started, my first instinct was to try and make sure that the congresswoman and her staff were okay," Hernandez said. "I have limited experience in triage and training, so when I heard gunshots, my first instinct was to head towards the congresswoman to make sure that she was okay."

Tillman Fertitta, a family friend of Giffords, said that the lawmaker was in an induced coma. "She is in an induced coma right now, and she'll be in the induced coma for the next few days," Fertitta said. "That's what the doctors feel like is best. They've got to make sure she's not -- I'm not a doctor, but they've got to make sure that, you know, they control the, you know -- that the brain continues to operate well."


Clyburn condemns "vitriolic words"

Following Saturday's attack against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (S.C.) said that he agreed with Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik's criticism of political "vitriol" and called for congressional leaders to more forcefully condemn overheated rhetoric. "I think the sheriff out there in Tucson, I think he's got it right; words do have consequences," Clyburn said. "And this is nothing new. I've been saying this for a long time now. We're getting ready to celebrate this weekend the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., who admonished us that we are going to regret in this generation not just for the vitriolic words and deeds of bad people but for the appalling silence of good people."

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Paul, an ophthalmologist, decried the attacks and speculated that Loughner, the shooting suspect, may have suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. "I've looked at some of the writings of this young man, and from a medical point of view, there's a lot to suggest paranoid schizophrenia, that this man was a really sick individual. ... It's probably about a very sick individual and what should've been done for that person. But the weapons don't kill people; it's the individual that killed these people."


Alexander: Shooter was "deranged individual"

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) declined to make a direct connection between Saturday's shooting in Tucson and the rhetoric of any specific group. "I don't think you can ever make the direct connection," said Durbin. Asked if Democrats were just as responsible, Durbin said: "I don't want to point those fingers. ... We owe it to our own in both political parties to have at least the good sense ... to say, 'Wait a minute, that just goes too far,' whether it comes from the right or the left."

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said that "in all of the talk about this, we have to be very careful about imparting the actions of a deranged individual" to other groups. Alexander cited the shooting suspect's reportedly having read Karl Marx and reports that he had burnt the flag, saying that they were not the traditional acts of tea party members. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said of the shooting: "It doesn't make sense to turn this into any sort of partisan political battle."


Waxman: Health care repeal vote is "theater"

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) "has been a terrific speaker. ... I think the members who didn't vote for her realized it didn't make a difference. It was a free vote. I wish they hadn't voted that way."

On Democrats' plans to defend the national health care law, Waxman said that "the strategy has to be to explain to the American people what this law does and what it doesn't do. ... We need to shine a light on what's true and what isn't." He insisted that Democrats were "in good shape," since Republicans did not have control of the Senate or the White House, and called the House's planned health care repeal vote "theater."


Kyl: No "rush to judgment" on Tucson shootings

Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) discussed the aftermath of the Tucson shooting. Kyl started by listing the names of those who died following the shooting on Saturday, and insisted that Giffords would be the first to encourage people to not "rush to judgment" regarding what lessons could be learned from Saturday's tragedy. Kyl also cited Giffords's support for Second Amendment.

Schumer said he had been briefed by the Sergeant at Arms, and that a coordinated effort to investigate the event and ensure the protection of sitting lawmakers was taking place. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) also echoed statements made by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) earlier Sunday morning. "This is not simply an attack on Ms. Giffords; this is an attack on democracy itself," Hoyer said. Hoyer also cited the partisan rhetoric in the media, saying that many opinion programs incited vitriol among viewers.

By Felicia Sonmez and Emi Kolawole  | January 9, 2011; 1:14 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency, Sunday Talkies  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Neighbors: Jared Loughner and family quiet, kept to themselves
Next: Sarah Palin crosshairs 'never intended to be gun sights,' says aide


This is a good time to talk about first episode schizophrenia, diagnosis and treatment.

I would have thought that the Virginia Tech shootings would have created a better informed journalistic and political community.

Our killer, if diagnosed, certainly went untreated. I cannot imagine his parents' anguish for not dragging him in for treatment.

Getting rid of the vitriol in the blogosphere should also be encouraged. Some countries manage to live without.

Posted by: ahengst | January 9, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

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