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Don't Hunt for Sarah on State of the Union Night Don't Hunt for Sarah on State of the Union Night

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POLITICS

Don't Hunt for Sarah on State of the Union Night

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Sarah Palin is playing to the hunting crowd with two back-to-back speeches in Nevada.(Gilles Mingasson)

Mama grizzlies, tea party activists and the “lamestream media’’ will just have to wait.

Sarah Palin is scheduled to address a hunting group in Reno, Nev., on the same night President Obama delivers his State of the Union speech. No rapid-fire response from Palin—as expected from other potential Republican challengers—is planned.

 

“That function was scheduled long before the SOTU date was set,’’ e-mailed Palin spokeswoman Rebecca Mansour. “I'm sure she'll be commenting on the SOTU in the days following.”

The speech is the first of two that Palin will be delivering in Reno this week to hunting groups, suggesting the former Alaska governor has no plans to soften her gun-toting image in the wake of the criticism she faced after a January 8 shooting spree in Arizona that killed six people and left 13 injured, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. Giffords was the target of the gunman, who shot her in the head.

Giffords, moved today to a Houston rehabilitation facility where she will recover from a serious brain injury, was among the incumbents seeking reelection in 2010 that Palin singled out for defeat in a map with crosshairs over their districts. That, combined with militaristic slogans such as "Don't Retreat, Instead- RELOAD!" led some critics to charge that Palin's rhetoric fueled an incendiary political climate—even though there has been no evidence tying the man charged in the shootings to Palin or any political movement.

 

Palin called the accusations “blood libel,’’ spawning even more controversy.

In her Tuesday address, Palin will headline the awards dinner of the Weatherby Foundation International, which aims to “educate the non-hunting public on the beneficial role of ethical sport hunting and its contribution to wildlife conservation.’’ The group asks visitors to its website: “If you hunt ... What do you hunt?’’  Options include: "varmint," "medium game," and "waterfoul" (sic).

On January 29, Palin is scheduled to speak to the annual hunters convention sponsored by the Safari Club International. The event is sold out.

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