Rep. Poe: No Room for Politics in Giffords Aftermath

By Cullen Dirner

Jan 12, 2011 2:55pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: On a somber day on Capitol Hill, the political discussion turned to the role of politics in the aftermath of Rep. Gabriel Giffords’ shooting. On today’s “Top Line,” we asked Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas – a friend of Giffords – about Sen. Bernie Sanders’, I-Vt., fundraising appeal based on the shooting, and Sarah Palin’s video released to respond to criticism of her rhetoric. “I don't think anyone should use this as an opportunity to promote some political agenda,” Poe told us about the Sanders fundraising e-mail. “We have to remember two things: That Gabby Giffords and the others are victims of a crime and the person responsible is the shooter and he and he alone should be held accountable. He should have a quick, swift, and speedy trial, and his punishment should be severe if he's found guilty. And anyone that tries to diminish that I think is probably not using wisdom.” “We have a responsibility to lead and set the tone for civility and continue to talk about issues and not people, talk about policy and not personalities and personal attacks on each other,” Poe added. Asked about Palin’s video, Poe responded: “My opinion is the discussion — the discussion should be about what happened and the person who committed the crime. We should not be deterred and make an assault on the Constitution and the First Amendment particularly because of this event…” “So, it's not the speech, it’s not what's taken place, it’s not the positions people take — it is the actor that should be held totally accountable for his crimes.” And Poe rejected suggestions that the incident in Tucson should be used to justify tighter gun laws. “It was not the weapon that we hold accountable. Under our system we hold the shooter accountable for his conduct. And I think very strongly that that's where our focus should be,” he said. Watch the interview with Rep. Ted Poe HERE: Also on today’s “Top Line,” we checked in with The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty about Palin’s motivations in releasing the video message, plus President Obama’s challenge in addressing the nation from Arizona tonight. Watch that segment HERE:

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus