Fla. Politicians Say Danger Part of Job
MIAMI (CBS4) – Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl) called Saturday’s assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona a tragedy, but said he did not feel a need for additional personal protection.
The Congresswoman was shot in the head outside a grocery store as she held a meet-and-greet with the public Saturday.
Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen spoke to CBS4 during Miami’s 41st Three Kings Parade.
Rubio spoke as he was surrounded by the public.
“Tragic. There are no words to describe, not just to what happened to Representative Giffords, but the people who died,” he said. “A 9-year-old girl lost her life? It’s outrageous.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl) said she does not think her job is any more dangerous than anyone else’s.
“Unfortunately, violence is all around us, and it should not deter us from fulfilling our responsibilities and doing the things we like to do,” she said.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D- Fl) noted on NBC’s Meet The Press that she regularly holds open tall hall meetings where police officers always are guarding everyone there.
And while the country reels from the mass killings in Arizona, President Barack Obama is asking it to pause for a moment of silence Monday at 11 a.m. in order to remember those who have died and those who are still fighting for their lives.
Obama also has ordered government flags flown to be kept at half-staff until Jan. 14 in honor of the 19 shooting victims of 22-year-old gunman Jared Loughner, who is now facing five federal charges.
Six people have died including Federal Judge John M. Roll, Giffords’ district manager Gabe Zimmerman, 30 and a 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, who was a member of the student council at her local school and went to the event because of her interest in government.
She was the granddaughter of former Philadelphia Phillies manager Dallas Green.
Judge Roll had just stopped by to see his friend Giffords after attending Mass.
Also dead are Dorothy Morris, 76; Dorwin Stoddard, 76; and Phyllis Schneck, 79.
Doctors remain hopeful for Giffords who continues to fight for her life. She does, hospital authorities said, respond to commands but remains on a ventilator in the ICU suite.
Giffords, 40, was re-elected to her third term last November. She was a member of the Arizona House and Senate before coming to Washington. The former state lawmaker won a narrow victory against a Tea Party favorite in the 2010 election.
The shooting comes amid a highly charged political environment that has seen several dangerous threats against lawmakers but nothing that reached the point of actual violence.
Past threats include a San Francisco man upset with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s support of health care reform who pleaded guilty to threatening the Democratic congresswoman and her family, calling her directly on March 25 and threatening to destroy her Northern California home if she voted for health care reform.
In July, a California man known for his anger over left-leaning politics engaged in a shootout with highway patrol officers after planning an attack on the ACLU and another nonprofit group. The man said he wanted to “start a revolution” by killing people at the ACLU and the Tides Foundation.
Giffords herself has drawn the ire of the right, particularly for her support of the health care bill, especially from former Republican presidential candidate and Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin who urged conservative followers to take action against congressional members who supported President Obama’s health initiatives.
Palin’s Web page listed Giffords among the congressional members to act against and put crosshairs on Giffords’ name, as seen on Palin’s March 23, 2010 FaceBook post.
Giffords’ Tucson office was then vandalized a few hours after the House vote to approve the health care law in March, with someone either kicking or shooting out a glass door and window.
Investigators in Saturday’s attack said they carried out a search warrant at Loughner’s home and seized an envelope from a safe with messages such as “I planned ahead,” “My assassination” and the name “Giffords” next to what appears to be the man’s signature.
Court documents also show that Loughner had contact with Giffords in the past. Other evidence included a letter addressed to him from Giffords’ congressional stationery in which she thanked him for attending a “Congress on your Corner” event at a mall in Tucson in 2007.
An unidentified man who authorities earlier said might have acted as an accomplice was cleared Sunday of any involvement. Pima County sheriff’s deputy Jason Ogan told The Associated Press on Sunday that the man was a cab driver who drove the gunman to the grocery store outside of which the shooting occurred.
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