Sarah Palin Lashes Out, Calls Media Speculation "Blood Libel"

In a videotaped message, Sarah Palin spoke out against speculation that her fiery rhetoric and crosshairs map may have contributed to the deadly shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona. INSIDE EDITION reports.

"I listened at first puzzled, then with concern, and now with sadness to the irresponsible statements from people attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event," said Sarah Palin, finally breaking her silence about the massacre in Tucson.

Palin defended herself against claims that her fiery rhetoric, and the infamous crosshairs map, contributed in any way to the deadly rampage.  

"Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle," she continued.

"This is what Sarah Palin does, she counterpunches, when people attack her she counterattacks," says Bob Cusack, managing editor of The Hill.   

In her seven-minute, 42-second video message, a defiant Palin spoke directly into the camera, with an American flag in the background and on her jacket lapel. She accuses her critics of "blood libel" for pointing fingers at her.  

"Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible," she continued.

"The use of the term blood libel has confused many on Capitol Hill, why she used that term, that term is going to overshadow the rest of what she said and I think it's going to be a problem for Sarah Palin," Cusack tells INSIDE EDITION.

Reaction to Palin's video message was swift and intense.

"Whether it was her intention or not today, she is feeding the beast of what has been a really nasty ideological finger pointing fight," said Chuck Todd on MSNBC.
On Fox News, Brad Blakeman, former Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush said, "She has nobody to apologize to, and nothing to apologize for."

Meanwhile, the world is getting a first look inside the hospital room where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is fighting for her life after being shot in the head.  

A haunting photo shows Giffords's husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, unshaven and looking exhausted. He tenderly clutches his wife's hand, keeping vigil at her bedside.

There is also more information about Jared Loughner's hateful vendetta against Giffords.  

The crazed gunman is said to have written the words "Die, [expletive]" on a thank-you letter he received from the congresswoman in 2007.

And in a shocking development, the semi-automatic weapon Loughner fired in his rampage is flying off store shelves in Arizona

The Glock 19 pistol's extended magazine is illegal in six states, but not in Arizona. Gun shop owners say people are stocking up because of concern that the weapon will be banned there following the Tucson massacre.
Loughner's devastated parents emerged from seclusion for the first time Tuesday night, their faces concealed with hooded sweatshirts.

The gunman's father carried the family dog into the car and drove off. In a statement, they expressed sympathy for the victims of their son's shooting rampage:

"There are no words that can possibly express how we feel. We don't understand why this happened."