Conservatives criticize Tucson memorial’s ‘branding’

Rachel Rose Hartman
Volunteers wearing "Together We Thrive" shirts
Volunteers wearing "Together We Thrive" shirts

"Together We Thrive: Tucson & America" was the slogan for Wednesday night's memorial service for the Tucson shooting victims, and the phrase appeared on giveaway T-shirts, programs and other event materials. Conservatives are none too pleased about what they viewed as Democratic efforts to politicize the tragedy, Evan McMorris-Santoro reports for TPMDC.

"Yes, the Tucson massacre is being branded. ... Isn't the churning of the instant messaging machine a bit, well, unseemly?" wrote conservative blogger Michelle Malkin. "Can't the Democrat political stage managers give it a break just once?" Malkin later updated her post to reflect that it was actually the University of Arizona that announced the Together We Thrive event and that readers believe the campus initiated the logo and campaign.

But just because the university has taken credit doesn't mean the White House was totally hands off, Malkin argues: "I would say the odds of involvement by Axelrod/Plouffe & Co. are high," she wrote, referring to White House consultants and campaign strategists David Axelrod and David Plouffe.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, asked Thursday to address the "pep rally aspect" of the memorial, had this to say:

"Part of the grieving process is celebrating the lives of those that were lost and celebrating the miracles of those that survived. ...  If that is part of the healing process, then that is a good thing."

Gibbs was also asked about the selection of an arena as a venue, rather than a church or another type of setting. Gibbs responded that all logistical questions should be referred to the university, but he also noted that many people wanted to attend.

(Photo of volunteers in Together We Thrive T-shirts: Getty Images/David Becker)