In an interview with CNN today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she believes Tucson shooter Jared Loughner was motivated by his "political views" and his actions are a form of "extremism":
“Based on what I know, this is a criminal defendant who was in some ways motivated by his own political views, who had a particular animus toward the congresswoman,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN. “And I think when you cross the line from expressing opinions that are of conflicting differences in our political environment into taking action that’s violent action, that’s a hallmark of extremism, whether it comes from the right, the left, from Al Qaeda, from anarchists, whoever it is. That is a form of extremism.”
Clinton added, “So, yes, I think that when you’re a criminal who is in some way pursuing criminal activity connected to – however bizarre and poorly thought through – your political views, that’s a form of extremism.”
But what may be unsettling is where Clinton suggests she is getting her information from: "From what we know, and of course I'm reading the newspapers and watching TV like everyone else who is deeply affected by this tragedy."
In the days since the shooting, many have scrutinized the media's coverage of the event, and pointed out numerous reports that have baselessly suggested politics and heated rhetoric motivated Loughner.
That could be why, while Clinton did not tie Loughner's political views to any one party, her remarks are in contrast to a former friend of Loughner's who said today that “There was no political motive in this, [Jared] was just angry at the world."
"He did not watch TV. He disliked the news. He didn’t listen to political radio. He didn’t take sides. He wasn’t on the left. He wasn’t on the right," the former friend told ABC News.
You can read our report on those remarks here.