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Sen. Bernie Sanders is the latest to attract sharp criticism for using the weekend Arizona shootings for political purposes.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee widely distributed news, first published by the Weekly Standard today, that the Vermont Independent referenced the gruesome attacks in a fundraising appeal sent to supporters Tuesday afternoon.
“Given the recent tragedy in Arizona, as well as the start of the new Congress, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few words with political friends in Vermont and throughout the country,” Sanders wrote in the e-mail. “I also want to thank the very many supporters who have begun contributing online to my 2012 reelection campaign at www.bernie.org. There is no question but that the Republican Party, big money corporate interests and right-wing organizations will vigorously oppose me. Your financial support now and in the future is much appreciated.”
NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh sent the Weekly Standard article in an e-mail blast to media outlets. The subject line of his e-mail was “No comment...”.
And while there has largely been a political cease-fire on Capitol Hill so far this week, inflammatory rhetoric had filled the national airwaves and partisan websites even before news of Sanders’ e-mail surfaced.
On Monday, the Tea Party Express began a fundraising effort to ask supporters to help it fight “liberals” who are attempting to link their movement to the events in Arizona. Tuesday, it followed that up with a new appeal to “stand with Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh + Tea Party.” Tea Party Express officials asked supporters to give as little as $5 to “fight back.”