Sarah Palin spent much of her first interview since the Tucson shooting casting herself not so much as a candidate as a member of a club of conservative media figures who have been unfairly maligned by the press in the wake of the shooting.
“I will continue to speak out,” she said. “They are not going to shut me up, they are not going to shut you up, or Rush or Mark Levin or the Tea Party Patriots or those who respectfully and patriotically petition their government for change. They can’t make us sit down and shut up, and if thy were ever to succeed in doing that, then our republic would be destroyed.”
At times, she and Hannity, who has received his own share of criticism in the wake of the attacks, seemed less like a politician being interviewed by a journalist than like two colleagues commiserating — which they also are.
He pitched her mostly a series of softballs (Sample question: “You said when the war terms are used this is not a call for violence. All that was ignored by the media. Does that frustrate you more?”) and gave her a chance to respond to the criticism she got from both sides of the aisle for the language choice and timing of her video response on Wednesday.
She said she understood the historical context of the term “blood libel” and defended its use in the current context.
“If you read back my statement of defense, it wasn’t self-defense, it was defending those who are innocent, talk show hosts, talk show listeners, those who have nothing to do with the crazed, evil gunman who killed innocent people,” she said.
She also praised the president’s Wednesday speech, saying only that she wasn’t comfortable with the setting.
At the end, Hannity asked her the requisite “are your running” question, and she said she was not yet ready to make an announcement.