Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, came to Sarah Palin's defense this week, calling the suggestion that the former Alaska governor's rhetoric incited political violence "outrageous."
In a statement issued on Tuesday, a day before Palin responded to the accusation, the younger Graham said he was "shocked at the reports from those suggesting that former Gov. Sarah Palin has some level of responsibility for the horrific shootings in Arizona."
The accusations commonly refer to a map Palin posted online last year in which she used crosshairs to mark 20 House districts held by Democrats that Palin wanted supporters to help "take back." Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was one of 19 people shot on Saturday in Tucson, was among the Democrats targeted.
"Whether you agree with her politics or not, it is outrageous to suggest that her political opinions encourage violence toward anyone," said Graham, a longtime Palin supporter. He befriended her in Alaska in early 2009, according to the Associated Press, and later that year invited her to North Carolina to meet his father. In December, the younger Graham and Palin went together on a humanitarian mission to Haiti, which was devastated by a January 2009 earthquake.
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