POLITICS

DNC chair blames Tea Party for Tucson shooting

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., speaking in New Hampshire this morning, reminded her audience of the tragic Tucson shooting last year -- and also insinuated that the Tea Party, which she said regards political opponents as "the enemy," has enhanced divisiveness in Congress and had something to do with the shooting, at least indirectly. 

"We need to make sure that we tone things down, particularly in light of the Tucson tragedy from a year ago, where my very good friend, Gabby Giffords -- who is doing really well, by the way, -- [was shot]," Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair said during a "Politics and Eggs" forum this morning. "The discourse in America, the discourse in Congress in particular . . . has really changed, I'll tell you. I hesitate to place blame, but I have noticed it take a very precipitous turn towards edginess and lack of civility with the growth of the Tea Party movement."

Having brought up the Giffords attack as a political cudgel, Wasserman Schultz doubled down on that attack. "You had town hall meetings that [the Tea Party] tried to take over, and you saw some their conduct at those town hall meetings," Wasserman Schultz said today. "When they come and disagree with you, you're not just wrong, you're the enemy."

Warming to that theme, she added that "when they disagree with you on an issue, you're not just wrong, you're a liar."

Giffords' shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, was eventually discovered to be a mentally unstable loner with no immediate partisan agenda and a serious alcohol problem. In 2007, he had attended a forum and asked a question of Giffords, which she had not answered to his satisfaction.

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