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BLITZER’S BLOG: Let’s tone down the violent rhetoric
A spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign called Michele Bachmann “the very definition of a target-rich environment.”
July 20th, 2011
03:07 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: Let’s tone down the violent rhetoric

(CNN) - I remember first hearing the phrase “a target-rich environment” during the first Gulf War back in 1991. I was then CNN’s Pentagon correspondent. U.S. military planners had half a million troops in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region ready to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s occupation. In advance of the start of the air war, they kept telling me there was “a target-rich environment” in and around Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq. The Iraqis would soon learn that the United States meant business.

Flash forward 20 years. There’s a mass shooting in Arizona. People are killed and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is shot and severely wounded. A few months earlier, when Giffords was running for re-election, Sarah Palin’s political action committee, SarahPAC, had made a point of saying they were targeting Giffords for defeat and even had a map with crosshairs over her district. “We’ll aim for these races and many others,” Palin said. “This is just the first salvo in a fight to elect people across the nation who will bring common sense to Washington.”

After the shooting in Tucson, many people quickly said that it was time to tone down the rhetoric even though there is no evidence the shooter was motivated by politics. Still, in my opinion, there are too many crazy people out there who take the words of politicians literally.

Let’s be very careful with our words.

That’s why I was surprised the other day when I was reading Politico and saw this quotation from Michael Cole-Schwartz, the communications director for the group Human Rights Campaign. “Michele Bachmann is the very definition of a target-rich environment, and given her husband’s positions and things she’s said in the past she’s going to have a really hard time appearing as a reasonable mainstream candidate.”

There is nothing wrong with the group criticizing Bachmann’s record on gay rights. As I pointed out in The Situation Room the other day, I may be overly sensitive to the power of words, but I wish Cole-Schwartz would have used a different phrase.

I called him up. In retrospect, he told me, he wishes he would have used a different phrase. But he still, of course, wants to draw attention to what he said were lots of opportunities to discuss Bachmann’s record on gay rights.

RELATED: Gay conservative group requests meeting with Bachmann

Post by:
Filed under: Michele Bachmann • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Rachel

    Wolf and King should go and work for Fox News they are 2 teaparty follower...I believe the producer is a teaparty follower also..what a pity.

    August 15, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  2. a6102658

    CNN, there is a word that you and your correspondents use a lot and bothers me a great deal, the use of the word SLAM, it is used very often in the title of any reports, like "Cantor Slams Obama", then when the article is read, there is nothing close to anything worth news, yet, you keep using it over and over again.
    It is a sensationalist word, screaming for attention, sounds violent, it caches the eyes, but the article never backs up the word.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  3. Randy

    Wolf, when Tip Oneal left congress, he was asked, " what he thought about congress?" Tip replied, "Congress is a lot less civil nowadays." If Tip where here today I'm sure he would be totally "disgusted, with congress" as I.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:16 am |
  4. Urop

    The first time I saw FOXnews was in a hotel room in Phoenix on a business trip to the USA. I sincerely thought it was a parody, with all the rude remarks towards respected leaders and the tasteless incrowd chitchat of the anchors with disrepect of the viewer. But then I watched the clock (morning show!) and saw an advertisement presenting a scaringly thinny girl with disproportionally inflated breasts praising the virtues of a HyperWhoppySchmackaBurger and I knew it was all too real. This was what had become of the United States of America.

    July 21, 2011 at 3:47 am |
  5. Urop

    In a gun-laden country it is risky to incite emotions. But hey, isn't risk what y'all love up there? Keep up the good FOXing and forget about national and private debt.

    July 21, 2011 at 2:53 am |
  6. JohnRJohnson

    Wolf, if you don't like the "violent rhetoric" some of these people are using, stop putting them on the air. Only interview people who maintain some degree of civility. Of course, you won't do that because controversial remarks add up to ratings, don't they.

    July 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  7. War919

    The first time I heard the phrase "a target rich environment" was in Top Gun in the 80's...and they were referring to women in a night club. This is nothing new people, lets move along.

    July 20, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  8. sammy

    what words can we use? The dems use the word revenue for taxes, can't use the word terrorist, or muslim terrorist, target, bullet points, sights, crosshairs, dropped a bomb, lit the fuse etc etc etc. Just what can we use? I laugh at this so called prez. He's a weak kneed wus. he is on his way to destroying(another violent word) this country from within. I hope we can stop him in 2012. I pray we do.

    July 20, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  9. Mike from Orlando, Florida

    Thank you Wolf! I've been saying this for years now, but it seems to be getting worse and worse. I think it is wise for all of us to heed Abraham Lincolns warning: "A house divided against itself cannot stand". Lets stop and reflect on our words and actions and ask ourselves, am I part of the problem or part of the solution? The US has had people on both sides of the left/right divide since it's inception and the nation continued to flourish regardless of which way the pendulum swung from time to time. It is time to put the all the hateful words and selfishness behind us and begin to work together for the common good. I really want to believe this can happen and I'm willing to do my part to see that it does.

    July 20, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  10. SoSad

    Wolf, I do not listen to CNN, all the time, because all of your reporters, just like FOX and the other news outlets, bait the public with Rhetoric as an "incitement" tool. Its starts with YOU the news of the world, its how you project a story.
    YOU, make people, happy, sad, angry, mad, you make people cry and you make people laugh, ITS YOU.

    July 20, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  11. Johnny

    He's so sensitive that even the most benign comments "await moderation".
    Heil to you too, Goebbels, I mean, Wolf.

    July 20, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  12. Johnny

    Wolf: go back home, and have your wife pick out the Big Boy pants for you to wear.

    July 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  13. Al Thompson

    What I find sad is that so many who comment have missed the point.

    Mr. Blitzer is correct in that the rhetoric has become too extreme.

    And frankly, it doesn't matter what side of the political spectrum people are on, the situation is getting out of hand.

    Civility and basic human decency goes a long way!

    July 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  14. edsr

    I agree with Blitzer 100%....................although I care very little for his kind of journalism I feel he is absolutely correct......there are a lot of "crazies" out there who read remarks wrong and who are also inspired by some loose language to commit a crime and eventually some loose nut will try to do something to a President.......we do NOT need that kind of action.............the worst possible scenario is for an existing President to be shot at and missed or hit.........we need less loose and a lot less violent language..........many people making comments on CNN articles are using highly suggestive language that simply reads violent........even in joking.....violence is NOT a joke. This is a very serious matter.

    July 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  15. Vickie. Brown

    My parents. Need. SOCIAL. SECURITY CHECK

    July 20, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  16. AndyG

    Democrats and progressives are occasionally guilty of the behavior that you documetn here. But please, Wolf, let's drop the false equivalence notion that "both sides do it". The right wing in the US has a very long history of violent rhetoric that dwarfs anything by the left. Here are some examples:

    Rush Limbaugh: "I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus - living fossils - so we will never forget what these people stood for."

    Melanie Morgan: "I would have no problem with [New York Times editor Bill Keller] being sent to the gas chamber."

    Melanie Morgan: "A great deal of good could be done by arresting Bill Keller having him lined up against the wall and shot."

    Lee Rogers: "[T]he day will come when unpleasant things are going to happen to a bunch of stupid liberals and it's going to be very amusing to watch."

    Ann Coulter: "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."

    "We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too."

    "They are either traitors or idiots, and on the matter of America’s self-preservation, the difference is irrelevant. Fifty years of treason hasn’t slowed them down."

    Rep. Peter King: "And Joe Wilson has no right to complain. And I think people like Tim Russert and the others, who gave this guy such a free ride and all the media, they're the ones to be shot"

    Bill O'Reilly: "Where does George Soros have all his money? Do you know? Do you know where George Soros, the big left-wing loon who's financing all these smear [web]sites, do you know where his money is? Curaçao. Curaçao. They ought to hang this Soros guy."

    Michael Reagan: "Howard Dean should be arrested and hung for treason or put in a hole until the end of the Iraq war!"

    I could go on and on, but I won't. This is not a case of equally bad or equally frequent violent rhetoric from both sides of the aisle. This is a problem with the Right in this country; it has been a problem for years, and it will continue to be a problem until you and your colleagues call them on it and declare it unacceptable.

    July 20, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  17. Bruce

    since the term Target Rich Environment comes from the movie Top Gun..... that long proceeded the gulf war, i think we need to blame L. Ron Hubbard, who founded the Scientology movement of which Tom Cruise is a member who starred in the movie Top Gun..... there..... that reasoning is just as sound an ole wolfie's is.....

    July 20, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  18. wayne

    Really Wolf..?? seriously.. perhaps you should choose your examples more carefully.. Bachmann and her husband use some of the most violent and vitriol rhetoric we hear, as a matter of course. Which is what makes her such a "target-rich environment" I certainly think you could find much more relevant examples of violent rhetoric

    July 20, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  19. John W

    Wolf, it sounds like you're gun-shy!

    July 20, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  20. Bobby Dobalina

    I'm confused. Aren't we supposed to be able to say whatever we want about conservatives and thier views?

    What ever happened to that whole policy of double standards for everything, different rules for liberals, etc. etc.??

    July 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  21. John Smith

    Wolf Blitzer has developed a sudden distaste for "violent rhetoric". How laughable. Where is that distaste when his boss (Israel) starts to spew violent rhetoric against people and nations it dislikes? Wolf, you are so see through, you could be lingerie. Stop mistaking your readers for fools. Those days are gone...(now let's see if you're going to censor me again)

    July 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  22. felton

    Unfortunately Wolf..., your in the wrong business to ask anyone to tone down violent rhetoric, or any rhetoric of any kind. With constant repeating of any type of "wrong, non-factual, exaggerated, or un-challenged" information to the U.S. Citizens daily, equating to providing the source of dissemination of propaganda, CNN is the epitome a "incitement" tool.

    So, change your profession, and change your company, and perhaps you may get respect.

    July 20, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  23. David

    Reporting like this is what drives people to Fox News.

    July 20, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      So that they can hear more thinks about Sarah Palin's "second amendment options"?

      July 20, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Remford

      Well, that AND a modicum of balance.

      July 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • John Nemesh

      Faux News? They ARENT a news organisation! They are a political mouthpiece for the Republican Party! You know it, I know it, CNN knows it, and THEY even know it. I wish that someone at the FCC would mandate that they remove "news" from their name, because they dont report the news, they just distort it!

      July 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Texrat the Crypticum Keeper

      Hardly. There is no reporting at Fox News.

      July 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Rachel

      Do you find that Wolf should not be the person following Obama on his bus tour..because wolf is a teaparty follower a real teaparty supporter He should go work for Fox News.

      August 15, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  24. kazz

    Amazing how one person tries to post a blog encouraging a more civil tone in our daily communications, and it's followed up by comments of hate and criticism. Not only have you proved Mr. Bltizer's point, you've also illustrated exactly why we are our own nemesis.

    July 20, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • David

      Very true. Many of the angry responses were from people so mad at what they perceived to be an allegation that the Tea Party was to blame for the Gabrielle Giffords shooting (which is not at all what wolf was saying) that they either did not read the rest of the blog, or the totally misunderstood it.

      July 20, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Harry

      Are you not aware that several right-wing political action committees pay people to troll these sites and stir up trouble? Now you know.

      July 20, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Barbara Nichols

      Amen and Amen! Thank you, Wolf, for speaking up. Anyone remember the song "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me"?

      July 20, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  25. Ronald McReagan

    Right on Wolf!!!!

    July 20, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  26. John

    I think they should use words and phrases like, kill, exterminate, terminate, search and destroy, murder,Shoot from the hip, twist your arm, take a shot at it, ramrod the policy, destroy, assault, etc... Then we might get somewhere in Washington! by inciting a brawl and ending some careers!

    July 20, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • Pete


      July 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Pete

      its not like they are getting anywhere anyway.

      July 20, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  27. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Good Lord!!! They're STILL trying to blame the Giffords shooting on the Tea Pary movement, even though the shooter was a mental case who was completely clueless about the Tea Party and politics in gereral. Geeze Wolf, are you really this dense or is your hatred of conservatives and republicans so strong you just can't help but make false and misleading accusations in order to villify them?

    July 20, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Pete

      I'm actually pretty liberal but that is true, that guy who shot her would have shot her anyway. He was not influenced by political rhetoric, I doubt he really gave a s**t about any of it.

      July 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • JJ

      Yet right wingers were quick to lay blame on Muslims for the Fort Hood shooting which was also just the work of a lone nut.

      July 20, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
      • Kal

        You have left out that Major Hasan corresponded with the Yemen based cleric and terrorist al-awlaki via e-mail and received encouragement and advice to be a jihadsit.

        July 23, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • standingwave

      He was being reasonable and balanced by pointing out that there's no proof of a connection to the Giffords shooting.You,on the other hand,saw exactly what your preconcieved and biased notions led you to.

      July 20, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
  28. Patrick Cooney

    Wolf, you should be glad that retoric is all that has become violent in this country. As it becomes more and more obvious to people in this country that they no longer have any say in what goes on in this country and the politicians that have been installed into power by the weathy in this country don't give a d__m what they think or want, you're going to see a lot more than violent retoric going on. You don't think all these people are just going to walk out into the desert and die just to make sure that some Republican Billionaire can keep his free ride do you.This country has become nothing but a big monopoly board and mostly by means of out and out theft, all of it's wealth has ended up in the hands of a few. Frankly, I only see one end to all this and you're seeing it play out in places like Lybia right now.

    July 20, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  29. Rich

    When people feel passionate about a cause or issue they should be allowed to speak freely and openly on the topic. This is America and as Americans we are free to speak openly and honestly regardless of what others may think of our opinions. That being said when we are placed in positions of public trust as members of congress are then we need to act civilly and decent to those we work with and for. We can agree to disagree and still do it with civility and decorum. If we can't behave civilly then we need to seek out another profession.

    July 20, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  30. Lisa

    Sarah Palin was criticized heavily for her Giffords' crosshairs "target" - and yet she still doesn't learn her lesson:

    During an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity" on Wednesday night, Sarah Palin sent a strong message to Republicans on the issue of raising the nation's deficit limit.

    "We cannot default, but we cannot afford to retreat right now either," the former Alaska governor said. "Now is not time to retreat, it's time to reload."

    July 20, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Bobby Dobalina

      And.........just like her previous comments, Sarah Palin isn't actually going to shoot anyone or request somebody be shot.

      Are you too stupid to tell the difference?

      July 20, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  31. Tom

    Wolf Blitzer comically asserts: "There is no evidence [Jared Loughner] was motivated by politics."

    Jared "No! I won't trust in God" Loughner is a Bush hating leftist, atheist, abortion enthusiast, American flag burning militant, dope smoking pot-head and whack job 9/11 Truther conspiracy theorist, who like 61% of the Democrat party thinks that George W. Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks. In short, Jared "No! I won't trust in God!" Loughner is the perfect, classical, clinical, textbook profile of a member of the Democrat party and the Washington/New York/American press corps.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • David

      Jared Loughner is mentally ill and was floridly psychotic. This was part of Wolf's point. The rest, you will never understand due to your own apparent psychosis.

      July 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • anotherGDlefty

      What, no Soros ?
      You're slipping Tom...

      July 20, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • Dean

      Irony at it's finest...

      July 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • rob

      ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. Never was the truth about that whole episode so well put. CNN and the rest of the liberal media are so far up the democrats arse's it will take a backhoe to get them out.

      July 20, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Mike from Orlando, Florida

      Actually Tom, I believe people like YOU are part of the problem. Narrow minded whiners obsessed with their own extreme political agendas who love nothing more than to use hyperbolic statements and highly attenuated arguments to force their ill informed viewpoint on others. Look in the mirror, buddy, you don't have one objective, critical thinking bone in that body of yours.

      July 20, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • JJ

      Turn off the TV and take your meds, dude.

      July 20, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • standingwave

      Loughner is a clinically diagnosed schizophrenic.You are an idiot.

      July 20, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • Ryan

      Let's see evidence backing any of your points.

      Typical republican that has zero facts about any issue. Did you regurgitate this from rush, glenn, or bill?

      July 20, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  32. Richard

    You are an idiot Wolf.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • David

      That is kind of a weak example. But I get the point. Many who criticize what Wolf is doing here, in my opinion, do not get it. Of course, Bachman and her ilk are the ones most to blame for violent rhetoric, (Wolf knows this) but only by showing the conservative as the victim will those who most need to understand the message actually listen.

      July 20, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • kazz


      July 20, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  33. Daniel Bednarik, PhD

    Wolf – Your analogy is weak at best. These are simply words, not rhetoric. And frankly, CNN does a good job to stir that pot - society is reaping what the media sows in an effort to package and sell news.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • kls871

      Well put. I've also noticed that the media fuels division. They see sensationalization as a way to gain readership.

      July 20, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Words were spoken long ago that culminated in a declaration of independence and the result was a revolutionary war. The primary battles were not fought with artillery and bullets, but by words.
      Words can motivate people, demotivate them, incite them to riot or calm an impending storm of violence.
      I clearly remember Sarah Palin's mention of "second amendment options", indeed, I promptly cleaned MY second amendment options and dusted off my Army uniform, should I be called out of my recent retirement to suppress an insurrection.
      It was just words that lead to Hitler's night of long knives.
      Words can have incredible power, to enable or disable the speaker and the cause of the speaker.
      They are the most powerful weapon on the planet, for words confer ideas. Words and ideas can become action.
      Hence, as with any weapon, care should be exercised with the wielding of them.

      July 20, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Words can motivate people, demotivate them, incite them to riot or calm an impending storm of violence.
      I clearly remember Sarah Palin's mention of "second amendment options", indeed, I promptly cleaned MY second amendment options and dusted off my Army uniform, should I be called out of my recent retirement to suppress an insurrection.
      It was just words that lead to Hitler's night of long knives.
      Words can have incredible power, to enable or disable the speaker and the cause of the speaker.
      They are the most powerful weapon on the planet, for words confer ideas. Words and ideas can become action.
      Hence, as with any weapon, care should be exercised with the wielding of them.
      For, it was words that moved a handful of colonies, long ago, to issue a declaration...

      July 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  34. pleasecommityourselftoapsychwardblitz

    wolf ~ you are more like a slug ~ i would like to see wolf bred with that squeaky "hardball/head" f00l ~ the babies
    would be lovely to sell at a republican porn/fundraiser

    July 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  35. Bob

    I am very disappointed that Wolf uses Bachmann as a perceived victim. Please go back over your files and find the many, many vicious and violent accusations and lies Bachmann has made just over the past year. Using her as an example in this article is very offensive and my heart goes out to the victims of the Arizona shootings – no doubt they are very painfully aware of the violent rhetoric that Bachman and Palin often have used.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  36. Stephen

    Just now you go and criticize this sort of rhetoric when it goes against the GOP, but you were less outspoken against the violent rhetoric of Sarah Palin, Allen West, and others from the GOP side? Come on, Wolf! You've got to be balanced and unbiased with this criticism. The GOP is FAR worse for the violent rhetoric than the Democrats are.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  37. Sharon Samson

    I may be overly sensitive, but I fail to understand why Congress has turned such a deaf ear to very people that voted them in. It's a given that the majority of people who vote couldn't pass a simple government test if their lives depended on it, but that does not give Congress the right to ignore them. The middle class has worked long and hard and supported and gone above and beyond for this country throughout its history. They do not deserve to be kicked to the curb while these parasites reap benefits that most of us cannot even begin to dream of in any lifetime.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  38. Jim

    No comment of Chris Mathews' statement that the GOP is a bunch or Terrorists?

    July 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Ryan

      I'm still waiting for republicans to bring one bill to the floor to create jobs. I have a feeling I will be waiting for a while.

      July 20, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
  39. Joshua Ludd

    So... using "target rich environment" gets you all riled up about violent rhetoric... but "I want my supporters armed and dangerous" doesn't?

    July 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  40. Tom




    July 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  41. Jack

    Yes, Wolf. Because ONLY Republicans use violent rhetoric in their speeches and soundbites. Boy, CNN is quickly becoming a bastion of left-leaning garbage masquerading as journalism. There was no equality in your article. As if Democrats have never used that language? Not saying that two wrongs make a right, but if you're going to try to pee on my leg and tell me its raining, at least be fair about it and report on rhetoric from both sides. But...alas you did not. Because more than likely you're an Obama stooge trying to sully the image of conservatives. Oy vey!

    July 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Eddie

      Try again, Jack. He was responding to people attacking Bachmann. Try reading the article again.

      July 20, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  42. GI Joe

    Take him out ................................

    2nd Amendment Remedies ...............................

    July 20, 2011 at 5:29 pm |

    What happened to the news and the Situation Room today? It's all about killing wild pigs!!! Shame!

    July 20, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  44. Jay Delgado

    Well,'s a good thing that what Michael Cole-Schwartz says is of no importance!

    Homosexuality is an abomination to God.

    It was before.

    It is now.

    It will continue to be in the future.


    If you see Michael Cole-Schwartz, let him know that, from me.


    July 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  45. seattle

    Thanks Wolf – words are powerful, you're right to question the over use of these terms. After all the n- word means alot to many people hence we don't use it. There are many slurs and violent descriptions that in after thought show how hurtful what we say can be. Let's be more mindful of our 'freedom of speech" and becareful not to "target" people or 're-load" when it's not what we mean to say.


    July 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  46. GI Joe

    Reload ..................................

    July 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  47. Dianne Marsh

    Wolf I listen to you between 5-7pm any time I can. I was shocked at Debbie wasserman Schultz. I couldn't email her because she doesn't accept emails outside of her district. She could not answer one question about the Gang of 6 budget. She obviously has not read a word of it or she would have been able to answer all of you questions. Just like any Dem or Rep. they don't read they just trust what they are told and then vote on it. How disappointing.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  48. John K

    Wasn't President Obama using the phrase "Holding the Debt Talks to the American Taxpayer's head like a gun..." when referring to the Republican leadership just a few days ago? Agree or disagree with his point, I think of all people, he could choose his words more carefully.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  49. viltor

    Please! With all the vile rhetoric out there from the right, this is what you pick? How about the RC declaring that Obama committed a criminal act by using the Map Room when veryone knows it a considered part of the residence. Or Bachmann referring to Obama's admin as a gangster organization (a thinly veiled reference to "Gangsta rap".

    July 20, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  50. Kweso

    Thx, Wolf for raising this very delicate issue. People tend to underestimate the power of words, especially when those words are spoken by powerful people.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  51. Don

    Wolf you are so biased! What about Obama's statement of "they bring a knife and you bring a gun", as well as many others?

    July 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  52. Roy

    "Tone down the rhetoric" usually means "keep your expressed opinions within politically-acceptable limits."

    July 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  53. Texaslib

    Too little too late, Mr. Blitzer. You stood idly by when people called for then candidate Obama's death as a result of Palin claiming he was palling around with terrorists. You let the whole "armed men at peaceful rallies" thing go unnoticed. You and your network has provided a podium for some of the worst, hateful rhetoric and it's purveyors time and time again. Maybe if you guys would have told the truth about the violent, extremist Tea Party back in the day, that poor woman outside the Rand Paul event wouldn't have been curb stomped by a local campaign manager.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  54. OG

    Funny coming from a guy with a show called "The Situation Room." I assume you view each story as a mission to take out terrorist cells? "Target-rich environment" is colloquial. A map with gunsights is not.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  55. rizzo

    Violent rhetoric is not anywhere near new in American politics...

    July 20, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  56. Sparky K.

    Really, Wolf? The first major use of the phrase "target-rich environment" predates the first Iraq war by at least five years. Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell describes a bar with many drunken female patrons with the sentence, "This I call a target-rich environment." It was 1986, and the tongue-in-cheek reference, although clearly in a military context, was not so violent as you claim.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • FatSean

      That was the first time he had heard the phrase. You might want to work on your reading comprehension.

      July 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • jim

      Sparky, you must have misread the opening few lines. He said the first time he had heard it, not the first time it was ever said or when it was coined. He was clearly not talking about the reference you made. The reference he made was in a completely different context, during a war. And you really seem to be missing the major point anyway.

      July 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
      • Sparky K.

        So you're saying Wolf Blitzer's never seen Top Gun?! And you trust what he says about America? On cable TV?!?!

        July 20, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Karl Hungus

      Sparky, I've probably seen Top Gun 20x in my life, but if you were to ask me where the term "target-rich environment" came from, I wouldn't be able to tell you in 50 guesses. Why? Probably because most of my 80s movie quote storage space has been designated to Roadhouse and Caddyshack.

      As for the violent rhetoric, there's a pretty well understood psychological element to the use of certain types of language and the reactions they evoke. Most language used in those types of forums is intentional. It is probably (I hope) not used to incite actual violent action, but rather to motivate people to become active and vociferous. In other words, to fire people up. My only issue with it is that people have to understand that there is a fragment of society that will take the words literally, and some of those people have a very difficult time distinguishing "real" right and wrong.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:16 am |
      • Sparky K.

        Good point, Karl Hungus. To bring this into the current situation, should we be scared of a fringe of gay Americans invading Michele Bachmann in order to depose her despotic ruler? Why can't American leaders just be nice, until it's time not to be nice?

        July 21, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  57. Joey from Gahanna, OH

    Well you may be overly sensitive.. but it's understandable. I remember looking at Fox News after the Japan tsunami and I heard the word "Tsunami" be used to describe politics. REALLY? Violent rhetoric isn't something I completely cringe about, but if it's after a major event.. It's infuriating.

    July 20, 2011 at 3:35 pm |

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