President Obama performed admirably Sunday in one of the most difficult tasks a president must face – comforting the grieving victims of national tragedies – spending time with the families of those killed and injured in Aurora and ably expressing the nation’s sadness and empathy.
Obama’s remarks following the University of Colorado Hospital visit, which I play for you below, are a little too self-referential, but the president does convey to the nation a sense of the tragedy as well as the the heroism of those who helped the survivors.
Most notably, Obama skipped the mass vigil Sunday evening, eschewing a national spotlight for himself while allowing Aurora to come together in its grieving on its own terms.
This is no small thing. Bill Clinton’s April 1995 speech at the memorial to the victims of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was a significant component – whether planned or not – of the political turnaround that led him to his 1996 reelection.
Here are Obama’s remarks:
Obama spent three hours with the victims’ families – an hour longer than intended – and had to be torn away by staff.