President Barack Obama Friday offered prayers and condolences in the wake of a fatal shooting at a movie multiplex in Colorado.
A subdued Obama, speaking at what had originally been scheduled as a campaign rally, said that the nation had woken up to news of a tragedy that should remind the nation it stands united as a single family.
"We may never understand what leads anyone to terrorize their fellow human beings, such violence, such evil senselessness is beyond reason," Obama said.
However, he added that the people in Aurora, Colo., loved and were loved and that is what makes life worth living.
"At the end of the day, what we will remember is those we loved and what we did for others," he said. "That's why we're here."
Obama said that the news, which according to the White House he received prior to 5:30 a.m. in Palm Springs, Fla., had touched him and First Lady Michelle Obama personally.
"I'm sure that many of you who are parents here had the same reaction that I did," he said. "My daughters go to the movies. What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater?"
He added, "Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to hug our girls a little tighter tonight. I'm sure that you will do the same with your children. But for those parents who may not be so lucky, we have to embrace them and let them know we will be there for them as a nation."
Obama said that this day should be set aside as a day for prayer and reflection, leaving the politics of the hotly contested presidential election for another time.
That sentiment, however, was interrupted by cheers from the crowd, some of whom seemed to chant "four more years," although their words were not clear on television coverage of the event and could not be immediately verified.
Obama then led the crowd in a moment of silence dedicated to the victims of the tragedy, those who knew them and the people still struggling to recover.
Obama, who had been scheduled to attend another campaign event in Florida later in the day, will next return to Washington. According to the White House, campaign events scheduled Friday for Vice President Joe Biden and Michelle Obama have also been canceled.
Republican Presidential contender Mitt Romney is also expected to address the shooting at what had originally been billed as a campaign appearance in Bow, N.H.
Romney's campaign also signaled that the expected campaign speech would be replaced with remarks regarding the tragedy.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com