Obama Speaks at Tucson Memorial Service

President Barack Obama is addressing the nation in Tucson at the memorial service for the victims of the Arizona shootings. You can watch live here.

Among his comments:
"Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath," Obama said at a memorial service for the victims.

"The truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man's mind," he said.

"We cannot use this time to turn on each other." [More...]

Michelle Obama and Mark Kelly, Gabrielle Giffords' husband.

At the end, President Obama walked over to Michelle Obama and got a hug.

I think the audience responded well to his remarks. He came across as a leader. He had some passion at times, and was appropriately subdued at others. While there were some campaign-type techniques, like repeating the same line 3 or 4 times, with carefully punctuated pauses for applause, overall he spoke from the heart. Most importantly, he avoided casting blame, did not pretend to have answers, and he kept the focus on the victims.

One thing I did note: While many are referring to Jared Loughner as deranged, crazy or sick, Obama only called him "violent." In other words, he was careful to make no concessions on Loughner's mental state.

For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man's mind.

What did you think of the speech?

< Calif. Judge to Preside Over Jared Loughner's Case | Supreme Court Hears 4th Amendment "Knock Knock" Case >
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  • Display: Sort:
    Nice (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 08:19:25 PM EST
    Finally, This is the man this the man we all wanted as president.

    Obama giving a very moving tribute. (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by desertswine on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 08:21:35 PM EST

    Amazing (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Stellaaa on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 08:23:37 PM EST
    it was powerful, honest and from the heart.

    Perfect Pitch! (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by mogal on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 08:24:46 PM EST

    Husband said he was * almost * as good as (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Angel on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 08:44:47 PM EST
    Big Dog....  

    Yes, almost but not quite. (none / 0) (#9)
    by mogal on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 08:53:43 PM EST
    He got choked up talking about 9 year old... (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by magster on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 08:48:17 PM EST
    when he said we see our own daughters in her.

    Yeah, I saw that, too, and wondered if he was (none / 0) (#7)
    by Angel on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 08:49:29 PM EST
    going to make it through.  My husband was crying throughout.

    We cried too (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by christinep on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 09:04:25 PM EST
    A simple power because it defied politics in many ways, and spoke the words of the heart. A very moving eulogy and calling together.

    I tuned in as he was talking about (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 08:58:58 PM EST
    Gabrielle Giffords opening her eyes - and I was moved by Michelle Obama's obvious emotion as she was sitting next to Giffords' husband.

    Didn't see the rest, so will defer to those who saw the whole thing.

    It doesn't surprise me that he was able to put himself in the shoes of the parents of the 9 yr old girl; as a parent myself, it's pretty much an automatic thing, and hard not to go there to imagine how I would feel if that had been my child.

    As often as I take Obama to task for his politics and policies, I am not so doctrinaire that I can't appreciate that he is a husband and a father and has all the feelings that go along with that.

    His remarks are, though, quite a contrast - in class, in focus and in emotion - to those of she-who-must-not-be-named...

    Fyi, Gillibrand and Wasserman (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Towanda on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 11:00:06 PM EST
    from Congress were interviewed afterward on CNN; did you hear it?  They apparently are quite close to Giffords, have vacationed together, so flew out with the Obamas.  Gillibrand, Wasserman, and Pelosi -- interviewed later -- were the ones in the room talking with Giffords when she opened her eyes and responded in other ways.  Her husband also was there and asked her to reach for his wedding ring, and she did.

    Gillibrand and Wasserman were almost competing for the phone, taking turns with it to describe the moment and sounding over the moon about what they had seen.  Pelosi was more measured but sounded awed.  It must have been something to see -- all said that even the doctors who have seen it all were quite excited, apparently not expecting that this progress would be so soon.


    Very beautiful images (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by samtaylor2 on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 09:00:59 PM EST
    Great speech

    Great speech by the President. (5.00 / 5) (#16)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 09:10:53 PM EST
    Truly great...it deserves viewing for those who haven't seen it.

    One thing that struck me is how "normal," in the best way, Christina's parents were.  They didn't show up in fancy suits, they were so young.  They appear to have given their child all the support anyone could've asked for, to have made sacrifices.  As someone who grew up wanting to play baseball, and not softball, and who played in the Little Leagues with the boys, I appreciate the wonderful acceptance and support her parents no doubt provided in letting her follow her dream of being the first female MLBer.  That, and letting your child go a free political rally, teaching your child to be engaged, does not require lots of $$, just unconditional love, acceptance, and support.  It made me appreciate how great my parents are.  Thanks Mom and Dad and my heart goes out to Christina's parents...you were/are truly exemplary in letting your kid be all she can be...I hope those watching take note.  God bless America indeed.

    I noticed that too (5.00 / 0) (#18)
    by phat on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 09:24:27 PM EST
    He didn't say sick, or deranged. Of this, I'm very thankful.

    perfect for the moment (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by noholib on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 09:46:52 PM EST
    He was eloquent, direct, and moving. His appeal for people to rise to the idealistic dreams of an innocent child -- and of all the other victims -- was amazingly stirring. I think he's very comfortable in urging people to rise to their better selves. That's when he's at his best. He delivered what everyone needed tonight.  

    as good (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 08:30:59 AM EST
    as I have ever seen him.

    It was a good (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 09:17:21 AM EST
    speech but a great sermon.

    Kind of reaffirms my belief that Obama missed his calling. He should have been an evangelical preacher.

    preacher-in-chief (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by noholib on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 09:33:16 AM EST
    I felt the same way.  He is most comfortable when preaching.  I think he meant every word he said last night, with his full heart and mind.  Look at the contrast : he is never as comfortable or as effective when he tries to make the case for a particular political program or policy.  

    I agree (none / 0) (#48)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 11:04:26 AM EST
    I didn't watch the speech, but in the clips I saw this morning, I was really moved and impressed. He spoke from the heart - he should do this more often.  If he could do this, he could sell any policy.

    Not enough money in that for Obama (2.00 / 1) (#45)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 10:20:38 AM EST
    Obama goes where the money goes and nowhere else.

    And not a teleprompter in sight (none / 0) (#43)
    by Towanda on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 10:13:18 AM EST
    that I could see.  Apparently notes on the lectern, from what I could see, and those worked better. Or perhaps it was because the sermon is more his metier.  But I would hope that someone can convince him to can the teleprompter; see the tapes and watch his eye contact, far steadier than when his eyes dart from side to side for teleprompters.

    Yes, (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 10:50:59 AM EST
    the teleprompter definitely needs canning. That is a huge problem that creates the impression of him being unable to connect with people.

    Moving speech, now... (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Dadler on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 10:16:32 AM EST
    ....stop murdering innocent people by the truckload, and often by remote control, in faraway places we don't see.

    Worse yet, we KNOW why we murdering people and we KNOW it's our own evil at work.

    But then we act just so confused about things.

    It's maddening and inexcusable in, supposedly, the most free nation on earth.

    Our delusions about ourselves as a nation seem so profound as to be terminal.

    No disrespect intended, I'm just not on the "Gee, we'll just never know" and "How could such a thing happen?" and all the other b.s. we feed ourselves to keep denial going.

    But... (2.00 / 1) (#46)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 10:23:59 AM EST
    But Obama gave the bestest speech EVAH and he's a Nobel Peace Laureate, so it doesn't matter that he murders people (including children) on a daily basis! Get with the program, wouldja?

    I thought the subject was (none / 0) (#49)
    by christinep on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 12:21:16 PM EST
    the Arizona tragedy and the President's speech. Your comments on this thread read as though the subject is your anger at his person. (At least, that seems to be the meaning of your words.)

    No... (none / 0) (#52)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 02:02:20 PM EST
    The subject of the thread is not the shooting; it's the president's speech in reaction to the shooting. The opinions I posted are my reactions to the speech.

    Angry? I'm not angry at "his person." I don't give a rat's about his "person." I'm extremely, supremely, and humongously angry at his policies, however, and I see no reason to change my views on that subject simply because he gives a good speech. Any president should be able to do that, and our worst ones were very good at it. So what?


    Don't believe him (3.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Sweet Sue on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 11:19:27 PM EST
    Obama doesn't move me, he sounds canned and fake preacherish in a very practiced way.
    I wish I could see the real man some day.

    I'm about (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by Makarov on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 11:27:32 PM EST
    as critical of this President as they come from the left. I certainly won't be voting for him next year, unless his policies change radically and quickly for the better.

    That said, this was the best speech I've heard him give. That includes speeches at the 2004 and 2008 conventions, and others I've viewed.

    I thought he was very sincere and genuine, and can't think of anything he said I would change.


    If you look harder and put aside (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 01:14:19 AM EST
    your biased glasses, you would find him, as has everyone else here, including non-Obama supporters have.

    I think we have passed the point (none / 0) (#40)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 09:24:44 AM EST
    where the bias glasses can BE removed.

    It is possible that as long as one breathes, (none / 0) (#50)
    by christinep on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 12:26:22 PM EST
    one can always alter a bias, one can always grow.

    oh wow (1.00 / 1) (#38)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 08:52:17 AM EST
    Obama gave a great speech. And?

    According to his fanbase,that was always his strong suit anyway (I never saw it, but to each his own)--so what?

    While he was giving the most moving eloquent emotional speech EVAH, people--including many, many children--in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iraq and Palestine and Somalia continue to suffer daily violence, brutal illnesses, and horrendous gruesome deaths on a daily basis, all the direct result of his (yes, HIS) policies. When did he last shed a word or a tear for any of them? Well, pardon me for not getting all wet-eyed.

    What are you peddling? (none / 0) (#51)
    by christinep on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 12:27:39 PM EST
    That's funny (none / 0) (#53)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 02:06:50 PM EST
    Not peddling anything, just pointing out facts that are a little, shall we say, incovenient for the swooners here.

    OK, he gave a great speech. Are you happy now, I said what you wanted to hear? Feathers un-ruffled? (I actually don't know if he did, I can't stand listening to him so I don't.)

    So sorry to intrude on the little lovefest.


    Very fine ... (none / 0) (#8)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 08:50:39 PM EST
    A shade overwrought and maudlin at times.  But that's the way these go.

    The puddle bit is what will be played and replayed, and remembered.

    The "puddle bit," but before that (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Towanda on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 10:49:13 PM EST
    the line about being the country that Christina Taylor Green imagined -- with repetition of the line in another form; that part really resonated.
    Obama actually needed more of a pause (he knew he had run long, I bet) before the "puddle bit," almost stepping on his own line.

    You're probably right ... (none / 0) (#35)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 06:04:45 AM EST
    and I noticed searching "Obama puddles" on YouTube already brings up a few uploads of the clip.

    And it's probably fair to compare Obama's use of the puddles line to Reagan's use of the lines from the poem "High Flight" by John Gillespie Magee in his Challenger disaster speech.


    Here is the book, "Faces of Hope," (none / 0) (#11)
    by Peter G on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 08:56:59 PM EST
    he was referring to in that passage.

    I was out (none / 0) (#10)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 08:56:00 PM EST
    I guess I ought to watch before it's chewed up and regurgitated by the village.

    Yes, you will like it - as well as (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Peter G on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 09:05:31 PM EST
    the talk by the young UA hero and gay student leader Daniel Hernandez, Giffords' EMT-trained intern who know how to protect her until the ambulance arrived -- and who Obama had seated between himself and Justice O'Connor.

    I thought Hernandez was the best (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Towanda on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 10:54:25 PM EST
    of all of the speakers tonight -- not only a simple and humble message, but he also is a powerful and poised speaker.  He knew how to move right over the pep-rallying noisemakers and keep his flow well.

    And I loved that he started with one of my favorite slogans, "e pluribus unum" -- out of many, one.  A line that has special meaning for me for reasons not worth noting.

    But worth noting, as I just read, is that last Saturday was only Hernandez' fifth day as Giffords' intern.  He is a remarkably mature young man in many ways -- and a poli sci major, so we may see more of him in politics.  Or perhaps law?


    Either (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 09:43:19 PM EST
    that or read it.

    Anyway, don't let the pundits ruin it for you.


    Very good speech (none / 0) (#17)
    by beefeater on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 09:24:20 PM EST
    Right up there with Reagan and his Challenger tribute.

    From the excerpts in this post--doesn't (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 09:53:14 PM EST
    sound like a call for gun/ammo control  Too bad.

    He never will (none / 0) (#29)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 11:24:24 PM EST
    It's a political loser for Democrats, and dead as a national issue. Someone might revive it, but it won't be the President.

    It's so tedious ... (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 06:18:37 AM EST
    to hear over and over again what issues are "losers for Democrats", when what really proves to be a "loser for Democrats" are the actions which result from listening to people telling them what issues are "losers for Democrats".

    Although this memorial service might not have been the moment, we can't keep letting Obama and other Democrats off the hook for failing to seize key moments when fighting issues on the left could work.


    sorry, the site went down for about 40 minutes (none / 0) (#22)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 10:41:39 PM EST
    Our webmaster is working on it, some kind of memory allocation issue. If we go down again, just keep checking back

    obvious emotion (none / 0) (#26)
    by kgoudy on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 11:07:29 PM EST
    In addition to the empathy it was obvious that all were thinking of the emotions were it to be the president.  Michelle must fret every day wondering if she will be the next widow from a deranged fanactic.  I was touched by the empathy and sorrowed by the result

    The Greens, who lost their daughter (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Towanda on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 11:18:34 PM EST
    gave an interview a few nights ago, possibly their first, in which they noted that they had received a call from President Obama -- and that it had been very comforting to them and to their son (all fans of Obama; they went to the inauguration, etc.).  I turned to my spouse and said that, even with all of the calls that Obama has to make to families of servicemen lost, that call to the Greens must have been one of the hardest to make.

    And I appreciated that word of the call did not come from the White House.  No publicity ploy to it.


    WSWS: Obama provides an amnesty for the right wing (none / 0) (#32)
    by Andreas on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 01:44:59 AM EST
    Obama in Tucson: Providing an amnesty for the right wing
    By Patrick Martin, 13 January 2011

    More evidence of right-wing links to Tucson attack
    By Patrick Martin, 13 January 2011

    yes, but (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by noholib on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 09:30:48 AM EST
    Many of the points in these articles do bear attention, but last night was a particular moment that required a particular tone -- balm was needed.   I agree that the broader political, social,and economic contexts will have to be brought up, but last night was not the time.  I hope that hard-headed analysis will come in the public sphere, but I'm not at all sanguine ... The LA Times article detailing the far-right conspiracy -theory background to many of the murderer's rantings is very important.

    A Great Speech (none / 0) (#33)
    by TomStewart on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 02:11:15 AM EST
    A bit too much bible story/Jesus for me (from Obama and the speakers before) but well written and pitched well.

    I see they're going nuts over on RedState over the t shirts the college gave away.

    A terrific speech, (none / 0) (#34)
    by Buckeye on Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 05:42:56 AM EST
    exactly what the country needed.