The "crosshairs" on a Sarah Palin map of the district represented by shot Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords are not gun sights, according to an aide. The "Take Back the 20" campaign launched by Palin's PAC and posted on her Facebook page (taken down since the shooting) presented crosshairs on targeted districts, with the former Alaska governor urging backers: "Don't retreat, instead RELOAD." Despite the gun-laden inferences, Palin aide Rebecca Mansour said the crosshairs were "never, ever intended to be gun sights" and could be interpreted as "surveyor" marks, reports the Washington Post. They were "simply crosshairs like you'd see on maps," Mansour told conservative lesbian blogger Tammy Bruce in an interview.
"It never occurred to us that anybody would consider it violent," added Mansour, who called any attempts to politicize the Arizona tragedy as "repulsive." Palin referred to the crosshairs website when she tweeted supporters last year, urging "commonsense conservatives and lovers of America" to "RELOAD." The campaign targeted for defeat Democrats who had voted for health care reform. Palin later boasted about defeating 18 of 20 politicians on her "bull's-eye" list. Giffords herself considered the crosshairs gunsights, whose symbolism can "have consequences," she warned last year.