Arianna appeared on "The McLaughlin Group" on Sunday, along with Pat Buchanan, Eleanor Clift, and Monica Crowley, to discuss the Arizona shooting and the speech Obama gave in response to it.
"What was it about Obama's Tucson eulogy this week," host John McLaughlin asked, "that differentiated it from other eulogies of its kind?"
Buchanan, Clift and Crowley all focused on Obama's call to tone down the heated political rhetoric, and argued about the extent to which it may have contributed to the tragedy in Arizona.
"The most important part of the speech for me was not that he asked us to tone down the rhetoric, but that he asked us to do more than that," Arianna said. "He asked us to expand our moral imagination, to sharpen our empathy, and to expand the circle of our caring -- these were his words -- in order to bequeath the American dream to future generations. This was much more than simply 'tone it down.' It was a much more deliberate request, really, for the country to become more empathetic, to look at what is happening in the country.
"And I hope he will take the opportunity during the State of the Union to go the next step. You know, people are suffering out there, including in Arizona, where mental health services had to be cut by 50 percent because of the incredible strain on the state budget.
"So because of all the suffering, because of all the unemployment, because of the foreclosures, there is so much misery out there that it is much easier to scapegoat, to demonize, and to really turn on each other."
"Does Mr. Obama bear any personal responsibility for the intensely partisan atmosphere in the country?" McLaughlin asked.
"No, I don't think that's what this is about," Arianna replied. "I think that, historically, if you look through any period of economic misery, going back to the 1880s we had the Chinese Exclusion Act. Go to the 1930s, we were deporting American citizens of Mexican decent. That happens every time there is such economic instability. So we need to recognize that -- that's not to justify it. We need to actually make it clear that people have other outlets for their anger, their frustration, their anxiety, and their fear."