A Democratic congressional candidate connected the shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D., Ariz.) to the tea party in remarks given at a town hall event Thursday.
Speaking in Naperville, Ill., on Thursday, Bill Foster, a former U.S. Representative for Illinois’ 14th District who is now challenging Rep. Judy Biggert (R., Ill.), spoke about the Giffords shooting in the same breath as the tea party, appearing to link the two.
"It was a Congress on Your Corner event where Gabby Giffords was shot down by that crazy person," said at the event, according to audio obtained by the Free Beacon. "And I used to talk to Gabby. We both lived in districts where there was a substantial Tea Party presence, and we would have substantial fraction of people who would show up there and . And I would talk to Gabby about how we deal with these people, and what you do when you have to move on to the next person. It had a tremendous effect on my staff when Gabby was shot. It was something I always thought about late at night."
Foster’s comments were first noted by the Naperville Sun. When pressed by the paper on his comments, Foster disavowed them:
Foster seemed to link the shooting with the Tea Party movement, saying some of his conversations with Giffords were about how to respond to criticisms from the group.
When asked if he had any knowledge of a connection between Gifford’s alleged shooter and the Tea Party, Foster backed off.
"I don’t believe there’s any connection," he said, admitting that the individual was simply deranged.
But he maintained his position that the country was extremely polarized politically.
"The level of discourse in politics has gotten really unpleasant these days," he said.