Barack Obama speech on Connecticut school shooting turns very emotional
The full text of President Obama's speech is below.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Addressing a stunned nation, President Barack Obama on Saturday grieved for the children and teachers massacred in Newtown, Conn., declaring that "every parent in America has a heart heavy with hurt."
Obama, addressing the tragedy for the second time since the violence erupted Friday, sympathized with the families of the dead and said he and his wife, Michelle, "are doing what I know every parent is doing - holding our children as close as we can and reminding them how much we love them."
Obama spoke Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address. Republicans, who typically also give an address, ceded their time so that Obama could speak for the nation.
The carnage was carried out by a man who killed his mother at home and then massacred 26 people, including 20 children, at an elementary school in Newtown where she taught, authorities say. The shooter committed suicide at the school.
"Our hearts are broken today," the president said. "We grieve for the families of those we lost. And we keep in our prayers the parents of those who survived. Because as blessed as they are to have their children home, they know that their child's innocence has been torn away far too early."
Obama's remarks were similar to ones he delivered emotionally from the White House briefing room Friday afternoon. Obama paused and wiped his eyes as he spoke Friday, just hours after the shootings.
He reiterated his appeal that, "regardless of the politics," it was time for the country to join together and "take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this." But neither he nor his aides have specified what action that might entail.
Obama has supported reinstating a ban on military-style assault weapons but has not pushed Congress for such legislation.
Gun-control activists, however, promptly renewed their demand for new gun laws. The most prominent was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who declared pointedly in a statement: "Calling for 'meaningful action" is not enough. We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before."
Full text of President Obama's statement
"This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Gov. Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families."
"We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there's not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do."
"The majority of those who died today were children - beautiful, little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them - birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams."
"So our hearts are broken today for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost."
"Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors, as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early and there are no words that will ease their pain."
"As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."
"This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter, and we'll tell them that we love them, and we'll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight, and they need all of us right now. In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans, and I will do everything in my power as president to help, because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need, to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories, but also in ours."
"May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds."