Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday joined the debate about the motive in the shootings in Arizona that targeted U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, comparing the shooter with an ideologically driven terrorist.
Appearing on “Sweet Talk,” a satellite-TV show for Arab women, Clinton said American society, like the Muslim world, suffered from extremism and cited the shootings Saturday in Tucson.
“Look, we have extremists in my country,” Clinton said while taping the show at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi. “A wonderful, incredibly brave young woman Congress member, Congresswoman Giffords, was just shot by an extremist in our country. We have the same kinds of problems.”
The shooting of Giffords has stirred a debate about whether the angry political climate in the United States motivated the shooter or whether it was mental illness. Alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner, 22, has been charged with murder and attempted murder in the rampage that killed six people and wounded 14 others, including Giffords.
Clinton said the extreme views that often draw attention in the United States and the Middle East don’t represent the majority of the public.
She said “the crazy voices that sometimes get on TV” are “not who we are,” and the violent extremists in the Muslim world are “not who you are.”
Clinton is visiting the Persian Gulf region in part to build Arab support for peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. She said the peace effort had a better chance of success now because Barack Obama was president.
She said she was “absolutely committed” to the peace effort, “as is President Obama.”
“Let’s seize this opportunity while we have President Obama,” she said.