Sec. of State Hillary Clinton on Jared Loughner's 'Extremism'

ABC's Luis Martinez Reports:

In a sit-down interview with CNN’s Jill Dougherty, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked to explain comments she made on an overseas trip about extremists and Jared Loughner, the man accused of shooting of Rep. Giffords and 18 others in Tucson over the weekend.

Read more about her initial comments, in which she called Loughner an extremist, HERE .

Clinton explained on CNN that pursuing criminal activity connected to political views, no matter how “bizarre and poorly thought through” they might be “that’s a form of extremism.

Here’s the relevant portion of the transcript:

QUESTION: On this trip, you’ve had some very interesting comments about extremists when you made that comparison between extremists in this region and extremists in the United States. You mentioned the man who unfortunately shot Congresswoman Giffords. Were you rushing to judgment on his motivations (inaudible) shooting people? And also, could you explain a little bit about what you meant by it?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think from what we know – and of course, I’m reading the newspapers and watching TV like everyone else who was deeply affected by this tragedy. I knew that people all over the world would be expressing their sympathy, as they have been, on my trip. I happen to know the congresswoman. I think very highly of her. She’s an extraordinary person as well as a great public servant. And the loss of all of the people – the federal judge, the nine-year-old girl, and others – is just heartbreaking to me.

Based on what I know, this is a criminal defendant who was in some ways motivated by his own political views, who had a particular animus toward the congresswoman. And I think when you cross the line from expressing opinions that are of conflicting differences in our political environment into taking action that’s violent action, that’s a hallmark of extremism, whether it comes from the right, the left, from al-Qaida, from anarchists, whoever it is. That is a form of extremism. So yes, I think that when you’re a criminal who is in some way pursuing criminal activity connected to – however bizarre and poorly thought through – your political views, that’s a form of extremism.

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