In a message
posted on her Facebook page Sunday afternoon, Sarah Palin reiterated her call for supporters to "reload" in the battle against health care reform, a term that provoked controversy last week after critics accused her of inciting violence against members of Congress. Presenting her message as an exhortation to college basketball teams competing in March Madness, Palin stood her ground in using firearm imagery against the administration. "The crossfire is intense, so penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons -- your Big Guns -- to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to win," Palin wrote.
In the headline of her update, she mockingly predicted that the message would be "subject to new politically correct language police censorship."
Palin's message did not overtly mention President Obama or health care reform, but its wink-wink tone, italicized passages about weapons, and quotes referencing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clear Palin was attempting to satirize accusations that she has been inciting Tea Party protesters to violence.
At a Tea Party event Saturday in Searchlight, Nev., Palin addressed the controversy more explicitly, simultaneously slamming the media's "lies" about vandalism by conservative protesters and warning the 20,000 Tea Partiers gathered in Sen. Harry Reid's hometown that "violence isn't the answer."
"When we talk about fighting for our country, let's clear the air right now about what it is that we're talking about. We're not inciting violence. Don't get sucked into the lame-stream media lies," she said. Palin also told Tea Partiers that "our vote is our arms."
The Saturday speech and Sunday note were additional salvos in a tiff Palin has been carrying on with Democratic lawmakers who accused her and other conservative commentators of instigating the acts of vandalism against members of Congress, including a brick thrown through a window, and a gas line severed at the home of Rep. Tom Perriello's brother after Tea Partiers posted his address online. Many Democratic congressmen, particularly Rep. Bart Stupak, received scores of threatening phone calls. Palin released a map of the United States with districts of key representatives who voted for health care reform marked with cross-hair symbols.
Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York, who received an envelope of suspicious powder at his office, said Palin's gun rhetoric could easily be mistaken for a call to literal militaristic behavior. "
When Sarah Palin uses gun analogies and gun imagery when she makes her political point, she may believe that she's engaging in metaphor. But there are too many people who have twisted minds who might think that she's being literal," Weiner told CBS. After condemning the violence, Republicans fired back, accusing Democrats of playing up the vandalism to gain political advantage.
Despite their leaders denouncing the bellicose tactics, some Republican lawmakers have made spirited defenses of them. Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Texas yelled "baby killer" at Bart Stupak on the House floor. Rep. Devin Nunes of California said Tea Partiers had "every right" to use racist and homophobic slurs against Democrats, chalking it all up to Democrats' "totalitarian tactics." Rep. Michele Bachmann said she wants her constituents "armed and dangerous" against the Obama administration.
On Sunday, Palin made it clear she wanted the self-described right-wing extremists to keep it up. "Get in their face and argue with them," she wrote. "No matter how tough it gets, never retreat, instead RELOAD!"
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