Freshman senator: Political points from shooting 'disrespectful'

Freshman Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who was elected to office with significant Tea Party backing, said it would be "disrespectful" to use the recent shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) for political gain.

"We all need to resist the impulse to turn it into a political football. This is a tragedy," he said on CNN's "State of the Union." "At this point, it doesn't make any sense to try and turn it into a partisan political battle."

He said the shooter is "either evil or mentally insane or some combination of both."

A suspect is currently in custody.



After the shooting, some Democrats pointed a finger at the heated political rhetoric that occurred during the debate on healthcare reform and the 2010 campaign as potentially inciting violence.


"Even though we do not have all the answers yet, we are all too familiar with the violent and polarizing climate in which we live," said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), the new chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, in a statement responding to the shooting. "Those of us in leadership must be overly cautious of fanning the flames of extremism in hopes to prevent another horrendous tragedy such as this."

Appearing earlier on the program, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called on politicians to tone down their rhetoric and begin calling out comments that are over the top.

"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."

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