Durbin: Time to tone down political rhetoric

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called for a ratcheting down of political rhetoric following the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in Tucson, Ariz., Saturday.

"We live in a world of violent images and violent words, but those of us in public life ... should be thoughtful in response to this," the Senate majority whip said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday. "We owe it to our own in both political parties to at least have the good sense and common decency ... to say, 'Wait a minute that just goes too far,' whether it's from the right or the left."

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) responded by saying there shouldn't be a rush to assign political motives to a "deranged individual."

"He read Karl Marx, he read Hitler," the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference said. "That's not the profile of a typical Tea Party member, that's the inference that's being made."



However, he agreed that there was a need for civility in political discourse.


"We ought to cool it, tone it down, treat each other with great respect. ... Do our best not to inflame passions," he said.

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said some recent rhetoric had "crossed the line."

"I think that what's happened here is that the vitriol has gotten so elevated [that] people feel emboldened by this," Clyburn, who serves as assistant minority leader, said on "Fox News Sunday."

"I believe that those of us who are in responsible positions owe it to the country and owe it to ourselves, owe it to this great institution that we call the United States Congress to speak out against this kind of rhetoric because if we don't it will keep ratcheting up, up, and up, and before you know it — as Martin Luther King, Jr., has admonished us — that the people of ill will will have won the debate," he said.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-Wash.) said the suspect was a "individual that has mental challenges." 

"As far as we know, he's not tied to a political movement and this wasn't a politically motivated act," she said.  

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