Monday, January 10, 2011
6:11 p.m. Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi invited members to “gather together and pray” on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon at a Bipartisan Congressional Prayer Service.
5:38 p.m. The neurosurgeon who operated on Giffords, Dr. Michael Lemole, appeared on CNN’s The Situation Room with the latest update on her condition. “The good news is that she’s holding her own” Lemole said, who explained that Giffords is still responding to commands.
5:28 p.m. According to The Fix and the Pima County Registrar of Voters, Jared Lee Loughner was registered as an independent voter in Arizona in the fall of 2006, but didn’t vote in the 2010 election.
5:27 p.m. Talk about creepy... National Journal obtained a photo taken in custody of Loughner, which federal officials released just now. Loughner appears to be smiling in the photo, despite his bruised and swollen eye.
5:21 p.m. Washington Post reporter David Nakamura tweeted the courtroom sketch of Loughner today. Nakamura added that the courtroom artist told him that Loughner’s bruised eye disappeared into swelling and "looked creepy."
5:02 pm. CNN reporter Ted Rowlands reports on The Situation Room that Loughner "conducted himself with courtesy" in the courtroom today. "He answered every question very clearly," Rowlands said. "He conducted himself in a manner which was much different than you might think somebody who was capable of what he did on Saturday or allegedly did on Saturday morning."
4:33 p.m. According to Nakamura's tweets, U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence Anderson adjourned the hearing after 17 minutes "with the words: 'Good luck to you, Mr. Loughner.' "
4:31 p.m. CNN reporter Ted Rowlands, who was in the room, describes Loughner as “very robotic … but definitely comprehending.”
4:23 p.m. Washington Post reporter David Nakamura tweets: “Loughner says little in courtroom, just answers procedural questions. Public defender Judy Clarke pats him on back.” And just minutes earlier: “Loughner appears in court in khaki jumpsuit, handcuffs with chains around waist and leg chains; bruise on right forehead.”
4:01 p.m. MSNBC spoke to Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who commented on the lessons that can be learned from the tragedy. “We need to recognize how delicate each life is,” he said. “This is not just a political problem. This is a human problem.” He added, “If we start treating each other with that kind of respect and affection, I truly believe the world might have a chance.”
3:58 p.m. Audience at Brewer's address gives a round of applause for Daniel Hernandez, Giffords’ heroic intern.
3:56 p.m. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer delivers her "state-of-the-state" address and holds a moment of silence for the victims.
3:55 p.m. A day before the Tucson rampage, the FBI said in court that a Colorado man made repeated death threats against staff members of Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., incidents confirmed Monday by the Bennet’s office. “The FBI working with the Capitol Police have arrested the individual responsible for the threat,’’ said Adam Bozzi, Bennet’s communications director, in a statement. “Per their advice, we are referring inquiries related to this matter to the Capitol Police. Michael has full confidence in the law enforcement agencies handling the case and remains focused on his job serving the people of Colorado. According to the website "The Smoking Gun," the man claimed, “I’m a schizophrenic and I need help.” The full story and the Friday court filings are here.
3:32 p.m. Fox News spoke with Betty Jean Offutt, the daughter of Phyllis Schneck, the oldest victim, and the former head of the Arizona State Bar, Dee-Dee Samet, a friend of slain U.S. District Judge John Roll. Samet said Roll had many friends in the legal community. “He was one of the finest judges,” she said. Outside of the court, Samet said Roll was “just so sincere and considerate and always glad to see you and willing to take the time to talk to you.”
Offutt spoke about her mother, saying Schneck was a homemaker whose family always came first and church came second.
3:21 p.m. National Journal reporter Alex Roarty called our attention to one of the most interesting stories of the day—a Mother Jones interview with an old and close friend of Loughner's, Bryce Tierney, who got a voicemail from Loughner a few hours prior to the shooting, in which he said, “Hey man, it’s Jared. Me and you had good times. Peace out. Later.” Tierney told Mother Jones that Loughner “held a years-long grudge against Giffords and had repeatedly derided her as a 'fake.'"
3:11 p.m. National Journal editor Jason Dick, an Arizona native, has just landed with this piece about his homestate’s gun culture and how—or if—the weekend’s tragedy will affect the politics of gun control there.
2:29 p.m. Tea Party Express founder Amy Kremer is outraged at what she calls the politicizing of the tragedy:
"I think the whole thing is absurd. We need to stop the rhetoric now and be considerate of these people who are victims and their families," Kremer told National Journal in an interview. "This is not about politics, this is not about being a Republican or a Democrat; this is about being a human being. Politics is not gonna solve this. Sure, it’s normal to have the rhetoric in our politics, but that’s not what this is about, and it needs to stop from everybody. We need to allow these families to grieve over the loss of their loved. This is about human life and dignity and respect.
"Anything can set off an unstable person—whether it’s road rage or someone going into a store that doesn’t have the kind of beer he wants. Most of these people trying to put blame somewhere are not psychological experts and have no idea what his motives were."
2:20 p.m. National Journal’s Cameron Joseph, monitoring chatter on right-wing blogs, finds that conservative activists feel they’re being unfairly tarred in the Arizona incident. They’re not mincing words.
Michelle Malkin: “The Tucson massacre ghouls who are now trying to criminalize conservatism have forced our hand. They need to be reminded. You need to be reminded. Confront them. Don’t be cowed into silence. And don’t let the media whitewash the sins of the hypocritical Left in their naked attempt to suppress the law-abiding, constitutionally-protected, peaceful, vigorous political speech of the Right.”
Ann Althouse: “Ah, now you see why the accusations backfire (if I may dare to use that word): the occasion has been created for conservatives to list every violent-sounding thing any liberals or lefties have ever said about anything. Knock yourselves out. If I may use the expression.”
2:15 p.m. The late President Ronald Reagan's son, Michael, weighs in on Fox News:
“To make it a political issue is just absolutely wrong."
After his father's assassination attempt, Michael said the agent in charge of Reagan's detail told him, "You will never be able to protect someone against the crazies."
“What happened over the weekend in Tucson, Arizona, was simply that," Reagan continued. "It was somebody out of their mind who decided to go in there and shoot and kill so many people—the judge, the 9-year-old girl, wounding Representative Giffords, and what have you. It was one of those crazies which you can't stop.
“To try to blame the right. Try to blame the left … is absolutely wrong.”
2:11 p.m. This just in from Bob Edgar, a former member of Congress who now heads Common Cause: The Pennsylvania Democrat is joining the growing chorus of commentators linking the tragedy in Arizona to all the violent talk from the campaign trail. “Our political dialogue is now sated with violent imagery,” said Edgar.
“We’ve grown accustomed to phrases like ‘second amendment solutions’ and ‘don’t retreat, reload,’ that to twisted minds may incite violent acts,” he added, quoting two tea party GOP favorites, Sharron Angle, who ran unsuccessfully for Senate in Nevada, and Sarah Palin, the former GOP vice presidential nominee.
“No one questions the power of well-chosen words and images to sell automobiles or beer or pharmaceuticals,” Edgar added. “Surely we should acknowledge that when poorly chosen they can provoke despicable acts like those we’ve now witnessed in Tucson.”
2:04 p.m. President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy joined to deliver remarks on the Tucson tragedy. Here are excerpts of their remarks.
OBAMA: "I think it's important for us to also focus, though, on the extraordinary courage that was shown during the course of these events: a 20-year-old college student who ran into the line of fire to rescue his boss, a wounded woman who helped secure the ammunition that might have caused even more damage, the citizens who wrestled down the gunman. Part of what I think that speaks to is the best of America, even in the face of such mindless violence.
"And so in the coming days we're going to have a lot of time to reflect. Right now the main thing we're doing is to offer our thoughts and prayers to those who've been impacted, making sure that we're joining together and pulling together as a country.
"And as president of the United States, but also as a father, obviously I'm spending a lot of time just thinking about the families and reaching out to them."
SARKOZY: "I first of all want to say to the American people how deeply moved and upset the French people have been at your loss and tragedy. And I also want to thank President Obama for his expression of solidarity to the French people in light of the loss that we have felt with the cowardly killing of two young French men who were killed in a barbaric fashion by terrorists."
1:57 p.m. Giffords' operating surgeon, Dr. Peter Rhee, reports on the congresswoman's status: "I think this is coming on the 48th hour today so at this time, you know, how she does in this initial time period since the surgery is very important to us and so far, I'm still very optimistic about what's going to happen.
"Since the surgery, she has had a recovery that's been remarkable and so far we're very pleased with it. And every day in the intensive care unit, you're going to take some small steps forward. But once and a while, you take a few steps backwards and that's what we're trying to avoid.
"So at this time, we're just letting the body heal and go forward and all the indications that we have now is that it's still doing that. It's going forward. And we haven't taken any steps backwards and we're very happy with her care so far."
1:30 p.m. Another of the day's heroes, Patricia Maisch, who disarmed Loughner, recounts her experience: "I was there a couple of minutes before I heard a pop, and I knew immediately it was gunfire, and so in a split second I had to decide whether I was going to run and possibly become a target, because now the gunman was very near me, or lay down. So I laid down hoping I would—that would be less of a distraction to him. [When] the shooting stopped, two gentlemen had wrestled the shooter to the ground nearly on top of me. That is when he was on his right side, and they yelled, get the gun, and then get the magazine. I had by then knelt over his waist and could see he was getting a magazine out of his left pocket, and I could not reach the gun. The other gentleman had kicked the gun out of his way by a little bit, and I had the magazine."
1:28 p.m. Daniel Hernandez, an intern for Giffords and one of the day's many heroes to emerge, recounted on CNN his perspective of the tragic events: "When I got to the area where the congresswoman was expected to be, I saw a few people on the ground. So I first tried to make sure that those people who still had pulses and still had visible breaths were treated. I only got to see two or three people before I actually noticed that the congresswoman had been hit. And she had been hit severely. She had an injury to her head. She then became my first and only priority.
"I was, in high school, put through a certified nursing assistant program, as well as a phlebotomy program. So I'd had some basic first aid and triage skills. So those kind of kicked in and I made sure that I lifted up [Giffords] to make sure that she was breathing properly. And once I knew that she was breathing properly, tried to make sure that any wounds she had, I applied pressure so we could stem the blood loss."