Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Press release from the Arizona Democratic Party:
TUCSON -- In the next 48 hours, southern Arizona will play host to a McCain-Palin reunion and a Tea Party event featuring one of Congress' most inflammatory Republicans, Tom Tancredo, who earlier this year at a Tea Party convention called for a return to Jim Crow-style literacy tests because Barack Obama was elected president.
These two events take on new meaning in light of the past week: On Tuesday, Palin released a "hit list," showing congressional districts (including CD8) in gun crosshairs and imploring her followers to "reload." And last Saturday's racist and homophobic Tea Party protest on Capitol Hill helped set off a wave of violence and threats across the U.S. that targeted lawmakers who voted for health reform. Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Tucson office was among those attacked. [http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6330278n&tag=contentMain;contentBody]
But rather than renounce the increasingly incendiary Tea Party movement, all of the Republican congressional district 8 candidates - Jesse Kelly, Jonathan Paton, Brian Miller and Andy Goss -- will be attending one or both of these events.
"If these Republican candidates do not sever ties with the Tea Party, then they are giving their tacit approval to the threatening, inflammatory and even violent tactics that are occurring," said Luis Heredia, Arizona Democratic Party executive director. "They're trying to have it both ways. They use extreme rhetoric to work these groups into a frenzy or scare them about imaginary government takeovers, yet the candidates don't want responsibility for any actions their words may help incite."
As a result of the recent violence and threats, many members of Congress and their families have had to be assigned higher security because of concerns about their physical safety. In recent months, more and more images and slogans laced with racism and implied violence have appeared at Tea Party and other radical far-right protests across the country [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/20/tea-party-protests-nier-f_n_507116.html], including a rally Paton headlined in 2009. (See photo)
Text of Tea Party sign next to Paton: "1 Black Prez Leads U.S. Into Slavery"
The bigotry and violence reached an especially troubling level at Saturday's Tea Party protest of the health-insurance reform bill on Capitol Hill. At the protest, participants shouted racial and homophobic slurs at members of Congress, including longtime civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis and Rep. Barney Frank. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, an African American, also reported being spat upon by protesters while walking from his office to the U.S. Capitol. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mc2dOY5Nok8]
"Shouting racist epithets at heroic civil rights leaders and spitting on members of Congress is outrageous at best and hate speech at worst," Heredia said. "This is a far cry from the values of freedom and free speech the Tea Party movement claims to espouse."
"Rather than take a stand against the violence occurring in their own backyard, the candidates in CD8 are essentially choosing to turn a blind eye. This is unacceptable, especially for those seeking to hold public office," he said. "We call on Kelly, Miller, Goss and Paton to condemn these acts of bigotry and violence and sever their ties with the Tea Party movement."