CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In an October ad for his Senate campaign, then-Gov. Joe Manchin took a bullet out of his jacket pocket, clicked it into the chamber of a rifle, aimed and shot a copy of the federal cap-and-trade bill.
He racked back the bolt on the rifle -- sending the shell case flying -- looked at the camera and says that the bill is "bad for West Virginia."
The shot was a metaphor, Manchin said Monday, symbolizing his opposition to cap-and-trade and his determination to work hard to make the changes in Washington he believes need to be made.
But after Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot while meeting with constituents on Saturday, now-Sen. Joe Manchin said he wouldn't release the ad if the campaign were going on today.
"I can't say that we would, I really can't," Manchin said in a conference call Monday. "Because it's a much more sensitive thing we're dealing with right now.
"[The Giffords shooting] was the act of a crazed, deranged person but it would have made anybody more sensitive to that [running the ad]."
"Meet the Press" moderator David Gregory mentioned Manchin's ad on Sunday while talking about the shooting and the attention Saturday's events has brought on the political discourse in the country.
"Let's be honest, there is a demonization," Gregory said. "Whether it's a congressman saying, 'You lie,' from the House floor, whether it's a Democrat who literally shoots the cap and trade bill in a campaign advertisement. ... I mean, this kind of vitriol on both sides does contribute to that, that demonization."
Neil Berch, associate professor of political science at West Virginia University, said the shooting seems to have made an impact on Washington -- for now.
"The cynic in me says this will last for about a week or two and next week people will be back at each other's throats," Berch said. "It's easy for Senator Manchin to say he wouldn't [run the ad] today. I'm sure he wouldn't.
"But what would happen during the next campaign when we are months or years removed from now?"
Jared Lee Loughner, the man accused of shooting Giffords, killing six people and wounding 14 others, had no clear agenda, according to Associated Press reports. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said in an interview Monday that Loughner "targeted the congresswoman specifically; there's considerable evidence to substantiate that."