PHOENIX - Democrats are using Sarah Palin as a symbol of political divisiveness in the aftermath of an apparent assassination attempt against Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords that wounded the Democrat and left six people dead.
Sen. Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Democratic leader in the Senate, on Sunday mentioned Palin's combative rallying cry, "Don't retreat; reload." He also brought up the crosshairs she used to signal congressional districts where she wanted Republicans to win, including Giffords' Tucson-based turf.
Durbin told CNN Sunday that the comments, "invite the kind of toxic rhetoric that can lead unstable people to believe this is an acceptable response."
Just months ago, Giffords' support of the health care bill drew sharp criticism from politicians like Palin, who listed Giffords' seat as one of the top "targets" in the midterm elections .
That drew a sharp response from Giffords, who told MSNBC, "we're on Sarah Palin's targeted list, but the thing is, that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district."
Republicans, however, say the suspected gunman, 22-year-old Jared Loughner, doesn't fit the profile of a typical tea party member.
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