Personally, Tim Pawlenty Would Not Have Targeted Congressmen With Crosshairs

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Photo: Allison Shelley/Getty Images

Do Sarah Palin's potential Republican rivals sense an opening to ever-so slightly and subtly undermine her with the Tucson shooting?

In an interview Monday with reporters at The New York Times, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, considered another contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, defended Ms. Palin, if only to a point. “There’s no indication at present that those cross hairs, Fox News, any particular commentator or show or set of remarks or person was a motivating factor in his thoughts,” Mr. Pawlenty said of Mr. Loughner.

When asked if he would have produced a similar map, Mr. Pawlenty said, “I wouldn’t have done it.”

On the one hand, he's just giving the Times an honest answer. Most people would not have put crosshairs on a congressman. But he's certainly not defending Palin's use of the symbol, as many conservatives have, and even referring to them definitively as "crosshairs" is a direct rejection of a Palin aide's insistence that they were merely "surveyor's symbols."

Palin, Amid Criticism, Stays in Electronic Comfort Zone [NYT]