Tearful Obama calls for action after shooting
BY Associated Press
Saturday, December 15, 2012
12/15/12 at 5:10 AM
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WASHINGTON (AP) - A tearful President Barack Obama said Friday he grieved first as a father about the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, declaring, "Our hearts are broken today." He called for "meaningful action" to prevent such shootings but did not say what it should be.
"The majority of those who died were children - beautiful, little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old," he said.
At that point he had to pause for several seconds to keep his composure.
The scene in the White House briefing room was one of the most emotional moments of Obama's presidency. Near him, two senior aides cried and held hands as they listened to the president.
Obama began his comments with no greeting. He ended them with words of Scripture, walking away in silence.
He recited the future milestones lost, and had to pause again to gather his words. "They had their entire lives ahead of them - birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own," the president said of those who were killed.
As the president received briefings about the shooting, his spokesman, Jay Carney, responded to questions about gun control and Obama's campaign promises on the matter by saying "I don't think today is that day" for such a discussion.
Others, however, said it was. "If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don't know when is," Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. said in a statement.
The president himself signaled a desire for action, but he was not specific.
"As a country, we have been through this too many times," Obama said. "We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."
President Barack Obama wipes his eye as he talks about the Connecticut elementary school shooting Friday. CAROLYN KASTER/Associated Press