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Sarah Palin defends 'blood libel' remark and rounds on her critics

Sarah Palin, defending herself against criticism following the serial shootings in Arizona said that she used the term "blood libel" to describe comments made by those who falsely tried to link conservatives to the assassination attempt against Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Speaking out for the first time since she used the term in a video, Palin said on Fox television that the term referred to those "falsely accused of having blood on their hands".

Some Jewish groups strongly protested about her use of the term, that historically was used to accuse Jews of using the blood of Christians in religious rituals.

"I think the critics again were using anything that they could gather out of that statement," she said. "You can spin up anything out of anybody's statements that are released and use them against the person who is making the statement."

The shooting on 8 January killed six and wounded 13, including Ms Giffords. Her district was among those in the Palin site's crosshairs.

Ms Palin, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012, received lower marks for her handling of the tragedy from more Americans than President Barack Obama did, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found. Nearly 8 out of 10 of those surveyed gave Obama high marks for his response.