Lull in campaigning as Obama goes to Colorado to visit families of theater ... - Washington Post
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will fly to Colorado on Sunday to visit with victims and families from the Aurora movie theater shooting, the White House announced, as he and Mitt Romney dialed back their campaigning in the shocked aftermath of the massacre.
White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer disclosed plans for the visit Saturday night. Aides said Obama’s stop would also include meetings with state and local officials.
President Barack Obama says the tragic movie theater shooting in Colorado that left 12 people dead is a reminder that life is fragile. He says the event “reminds us of all the ways that we are united as one American family.”
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney says Friday is a time to grieve and remember the lives lost in the Colorado shootings. He told supporters in New Hampshire that justice will come another day for the person responsible.
Friday’s deadly rampage briefly silenced the acrimonious presidential contest, with both campaigns cutting short schedules and pulling advertising in Colorado out of respect for the dead and injured.
But for Obama, the pause was to be short-lived. After his Colorado visit, he was to fly Reno, Nev., for a Monday speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, followed by a series of campaign fundraisers in California, Oregon and Washington state. Romney is also expected to speak to the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Tuesday.
Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address that he hopes everyone takes time this weekend “for prayer and reflection — for the victims of this terrible tragedy, for the people who knew them and loved them, for those who are still struggling to recover.”
The president said Americans should also think about “all the victims of the less publicized acts of violence that plague our communities on a daily basis. Let us keep all these Americans in our prayers.”
The White House said Obama received updates Saturday from John Brennan, his homeland security adviser, on the investigation into the shooting and the attempts by authorities to gain access to the suspect’s apparently booby-trapped apartment.
Obama and Romney used campaign appearances on Friday to focus attention on the need for national unity in the aftermath of the shooting in Aurora, which killed 12 people and wounded dozens of others. Their campaign teams rescheduled Sunday show appearances by top aides and surrogates, essentially providing a break in what has been an increasingly testy campaign.
The rampage injected a new tone into the campaign after Obama and Romney had clashed repeatedly over the economy, Medicare and tax returns.
Obama was set to start his second day of events in Florida when the shooting occurred, prompting his team to address the violence at a previously scheduled rally in Fort Myers, Fla., and scrapping an event in suburban Orlando. Obama told supporters in Fort Myers that the shooting served as a “reminder that life is very fragile.”
“Our time here is limited and it is precious. And what matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it’s not the trivial things,” he said. “Ultimately, it’s how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another.”
Romney echoed Obama’s call for unity, saying at a previously scheduled event in Bow, N.H., that he joined with the president and first lady in offering condolences for those “whose lives were shattered in a few moments, a few moments of evil in Colorado.”
“The answer is that we can come together. We will show our fellow citizens the good heart of the America we know and love,” Romney said.