Nearly a year ago, the Examiner's David Freddoso received a ridiculous fundraising email from Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., decrying Republicans' political rhetoric in an effort to make some green whilst delegitimizing the opposition. And Freddoso noted at the time, Kerry is not the most credible advocate for restrained political rhetoric, mentioning this incident from 2004, among other things:

Kerry was asked whether he couldn't have "killed two birds with one stone" by visiting New Hampshire. He responded with a mild joke about assassinating the president: "I could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania and killed the real bird with one stone.

Given Kerry's track record of throwing stones, bandaging himself up, and suing the local quarry for pain and suffering, I wasn't expecting much from his speech today at the liberal Center for American Progress. But I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how Kerry addressed the alleged causes of the tragic shooting over the weekend:

Many observers have already reduced this tragedy to simple questions of whether overheated rhetoric is to blame, or one partisan group or another. And surely today many pundits and politicians are measuring their words a little more carefully and thinking a little more about what they’re saying. But in the weeks and months ahead, the real issue we need to confront isn’t just what role divisive political rhetoric may have played on Saturday -- but it’s the violen[t], divisive, overly simplistic dialogue does to our democracy every day.

So yes, he doesn't quite come to grips with the fact that Gabbie Giffords' attempted assassin was not influenced by right-wing rhetoric, but give Kerry some credit for offering a more measured response than many of his liberal colleagues.

It's appropriate, considering that Catie Parker, one of Loughner's high school friends, has already described him as "left wing, quite liberal." When asked why she would describe Loughner as liberal, she said this:

@johnedelstein well for the Bush/Kerry election we all wore "1 term president" buttons. That election was HUGE to us.