Political leaders: Tone down rhetoric surrounding Planned Parenthood attack

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DENVER -- Four days after the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs, some controversial social media posts by Colorado Republicans have party leaders on both sides of the aisle calling for a change in rhetoric.

In a post on her Facebook page, State Rep. JoAnn Windholz blamed Planned Parenthood for provoking the violence.

“Violence is never the answer, but we must start pointing out who is the real culprit,” she said in the post, which has since been deleted. “The true instigator of this violence and all violence at any Planned Parenthood facility is Planned Parenthood themselves. Violence begets violence. So Planned Parenthood: YOU STOP THE VIOLENCE INSIDE YOUR WALLS.”

On Tuesday morning, the Douglas County GOP sent a tweet from its official account saying, "Abortionists and Planned Parenthood Shooter Are Just Two Sides Of The Same Coin” along with a link to an article with the same headline.

"We have a really wide birth for free speech, but at some point being responsible means that you don't put rhetoric out there that is so reckless that it creates an environment that people are starting to kill each other over differences of opinion," Democratic State Sen. Morgan Carroll said.

Republican Congressman Mike Coffman sent a statement from Washington in response to the Douglas County GOP tweet. Douglas County is part of Coffman’s district.

“I'm deeply offended that anyone would try to exploit this horrific incident purely for political gain,” Coffman said in the statement. “Both sides should knock-off the partisan games and name-calling. It is beneath the dignity of our state and country, and a grave disservice to the victims. A horrible tragedy has happened in our state. Our focus should be on the victims, and honoring their lives and supporting their families. And we should focus on achieving justice -- this shooting was a premediated atrocity, and absolutely ripe for a death penalty prosecution.”

The Colorado GOP sent out a statement of support for the victims of the shooting on Nov. 27, but on Tuesday, Steve House, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, released another statement in response to the controversial posts and tweets from those in the GOP.

"The Colorado Republican Party stands by the statement it made on the evening of 11/27/15. Certain comments from elected officials and candidates since the release of that statement do not reflect the views of the Colorado Republican Party. We have and will continue to condemn acts of violence, regardless of the motivations behind them. Violence, under any circumstance, is never acceptable. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims of this senseless tragedy."

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