Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Stumping for McCain, Sarah Palin Dials Back the Gun Rhetoric

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Stumping for McCain, Sarah Palin Dials Back the Gun Rhetoric

Article excerpt

Sarah Palin now says 'taking up arms' means voting. Weaponry and military metaphors are part of political discourse, but not all conservatives are happy with Palin's gun rhetoric.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin put the gun imagery on hold Friday as she campaigned for Sen. John McCain of Arizona at a rally in Tucson.

After taking heat earlier this week for calling on conservatives to "reload" and for identifying Democrats she'd like to help defeat in November by putting crosshairs over their districts on her Facebook page, Governor Palin called on the packed crowd to keep "fighting hard" for "common-sense conservative solutions."

"We know violence isn't the answer," said Palin, who was Senator McCain's running mate on the 2008 GOP presidential ticket. "When we take up our arms, we're talking about our vote. We're talking about being involved in a contested primary like this, and picking the right candidate, too, John McCain."

The four-term senator, known as a maverick who doesn't always toe the party line, faces a challenge from the right by former US Rep. J. D. Hayworth of Arizona.

Palin a buffer from the right

The appearance by Palin, a favorite among the antitax "tea party" movement, may help buffer McCain from right-wing opposition. Notably, the Arizona tea partiers have not as a group endorsed anybody in the Senate race. This contrasts with other races, such as Florida, where tea partiers are firmly behind former state House speaker Marco Rubio's campaign against fellow Republican Gov. Charlie Crist for the US Senate.

In a momentous week marked by the passage and signing of landmark healthcare reform, and a raucous reaction - including epithets, death threats, and attacks on some members' offices - emotions had cooled by Friday. In the afternoon, President Obama left for Camp David. Members of Congress, like McCain, have gone back to their home districts and states for rallies and town halls with constituents.

But the debate over the newly enacted healthcare reform law is far from over. And even if the rhetoric has cooled down for now, both sides are bracing for more wrangling to come. …

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