President Obama is getting a lot of praise -- from both the left and the right -- for last night's speech honoring the Tucson shooting victims. But one aspect of the memorial service is drawing criticism: the free blue t-shirts emblazoned with the "Together We Thrive: Tucson & America" logo.
What do you think? Too much?
The "Together We Thrive" slogan was printed on several items at the event, including press passes, volunteer uniforms, signage, etc. However, some critics thought the free t-shirts that were placed on the seats in the lower sections of the arena went way too far. Amanda Carpenter, a speech writer for Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), tweeted:
I'm having a physical reaction to the T-shirts ... I'm tearing up. This feels wrong.
Others, like conservative writer Michelle Malki, were even more outraged.
President Obama used to preach that there was no “Red America” and no “Blue America,” just one America. But tonight at the memorial for the Tucson massacre victims, it will be a sea of blue as the White House unveils the “Together We Thrive” logo and slogan. Yes, the Tucson massacre is being branded.
It seems odd that free t-shirts were a part of an event as serious and somber as a memorial service. Swag of this sort should be handed out at a fun run or shot out of a cannon at a sporting event -- not commemorating a service in which people are mourning the passing of loved ones.
Yet, I'd stop short of accusing university organizers of politicizing the service. I think when it comes to the free t-shirts, their hearts were in the right place, it's just that their brains took a mini-vacation.
Do you think the "Together We Thrive" t-shirts were tacky or do you think conservatives are fishing for reasons to complain about the memorial service?
Image via David Becker/Getty