ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
Today, Sarah Palin released a video in which she speaks about the shooting in Tucson.
M: Like millions of Americans, I learned of the tragic events in Arizona on Saturday and my heart broke for the innocent victims. No words can fill the hole left by the death of an innocent, but we do mourn for victims' families as we express our sympathy.
SIEGEL: Karen Tumulty is national political correspondent for The Washington Post, and she joins me now. Welcome to the program.
M: Thank you. It's great to be here.
SIEGEL: This video looks like more than just a comment from a former vice presidential candidate. What does it look like to you?
M: This was - you know, she waited four days to make this comment. She had been in the middle of a lot of this controversy over our national discourse. And so, it was a very calibrated statement that I think was designed to put her into the conversation today.
SIEGEL: This is what Sarah Palin said about people who've linked her words with potential acts of violence.
M: Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.
SIEGEL: A blood libel. What do you make of that?
M: A blood libel has referred to the false stories that were once propagated, that Jews had actually, you know, used the blood of Christians in their rituals.
SIEGEL: And as you said, that accusation in Medieval Europe might have resulted in downgrading the legal status of Jews or killing Jews or expelling Jews - pretty strong words, the blood libel.
M: Yes, and it's unclear, you know, exactly the context in which Sarah Palin had meant this. But this coming against this very, you know, professionally produced video is sort of startling and, in and of itself, became a controversy, that in some ways it has outweighed what she had to say on the - her overall message today.
SIEGEL: Well do you think that this video enhances Sarah Palin's claim to a leadership role, say, among Tea Party conservatives?
M: And had this statement not included that one controversial and provocative phrase, blood libel, I think it would very clearly have been seen as an effort to reach out to a much broader audience.
SIEGEL: Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post, thank you very much for talking with us.
M: Thank you.
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