July 20th, 2012
11:40 AM ET
11 years ago

Obama, after shooting, tells supporters 'Such evil is senseless'

(CNN) – President Barack Obama, speaking Friday at a modified campaign event in Florida, urged a crowd of supporters to set aside politics on a day when the nation's attention was focused on a deadly shooting at a movie theater in Colorado.

"Even as we learn how this happened and who's responsible, we may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this," Obama said. "Such violence, such evil is senseless. It's beyond reason. But while we will never know fully what causes somebody to take the life of another, we do know what makes life worth living."

"I know many of you came here today for a campaign event," Obama continued at the event in Fort Myers. "I was looking forward to having a fun conversation with you about some really important matters we face as a country, and the differences between myself and my opponent in this election. But this morning, we woke up to news of a tragedy that reminds us of all the ways that we are united as one American family."

Obama was on the second day of a campaign swing through Florida, a key battleground in November's general election. He was informed of Friday's shooting by his counterterrorism adviser John Brennan early in the morning.

Obama's campaign said Friday it was canceling the second of two campaign events following the shooting, which took place at a midnight screening of the latest installment of the Batman film franchise. The campaign said Obama would return to the White House following the Fort Myers rally.

Vice President Joe Biden and first lady Michelle Obama also both cancelled scheduled campaign events Friday. The campaign of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney said it would comment on the shooting at an event in New Hampshire.

On Friday, Obama invoked his own children, saying the Colorado incident reminded him of the importance of family bonds.

"My daughters go to the movies. What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater, as so many of our kids do every day? Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to hug our girls a little tighter tonight, and I'm sure you will do the same with your children," the president said. "But for those parents who may not be so lucky, we have to embrace them and let them know we will be there for them as a nation."

Obama said one message to take from the Colorado shooting was a "reminder that life is very fragile."

"Our time here is limited and it is precious," Obama continued. "And what matters at the end of day is not the small things, it's not the trivial things which so often consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately it's how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another."

READ MORE: Romney calls for unity following Colorado shooting

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. mike the electrician

    Thank you President Obama for this!, you are a class act!!!!...............the GOP haters will always spew garbage on here.

    July 20, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. winston

    YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME... Try turning a tragedy in to a political event


    "ABC News has suggested that James Holmes - the suspect in today's shooting in Aurora, Colorado - may have a connection to the Tea Party." went on to say "Now, we don't know if this is the same Jim Holmes,"

    What losers.....

    July 20, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair


    Obama is a gift.
    Maybe we can give him to Chavez on his next birthday.

    July 20, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. Sal

    If you people don't understand, well guns are the problem in this country, not people, but it's the guns in the hands of the people that is the problem. 

    July 20, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. Làns danga

    Thank you prezo BO. You have demonstrated a true statesmanship. May our good Lord continue to uphold, direct, bless, and give u more wisdom and understanding as u continue the great job of pulling America out from the eeconomic mess u inherited unto prosperity. May the souls of those lost RIP

    July 20, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. thejosephsolution

    again & still,,, the same old song [america is still great] – NOT really! really, really not. what HAS [EYE] evil yankee empire 'given' the World? high crime, low standard of education, the Usury card, faceless/criminal Corps, planetary pollution, pathetic Leaders, weapons addicted economy, bankruptcy financing model. < THAT's america for y'all

    July 20, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. The King

    Good for you Mr President! Some of us are behind you 100%. Keep up the good work!!!

    July 20, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. Name Craig

    As long as the NRA exists guns will continue to fall into the wrong hands. The biggest, single worst invention this country even made was guns, if we had a dollar for every person felled by a bullet the deficit would be wiped out.

    July 20, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  9. Becky

    One of the reason we have not had a war on our soil, is because we are a well armed society and would fight back. The countries that have taken away peoples guns, the crime has risen, because the criminals are the only ones to have guns. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. If you took their guns they would resort to bombs, knives, etc. We need to get back to God and become a moral nation. We need parents to spend time with their kids instead of buying their love. Our nation is already headed down a progressive, socialistic, communistic path. Taking our guns would finish us off.

    July 20, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  10. Dumb Lefty

    Somehow Obama will try to cash in on this tragedy for votes.

    July 20, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. Bart Sinclaire

    "When guns are outlawed, only the outlaws will have guns" - can't remember who said it, and I'm sure it's been said plenty of times by difeernt people.

    July 20, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |

    Obama: You are an ass. You couldn't care less about this shooting unless it was Muslim related. Shame on you. We don't want you back in office. Go away.

    July 20, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |

    You're an even bigger one, sister. Get help.

    July 20, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. B.

    BLA,BLA,BLA....The NRA is complicit in all of these mass murders by standing in the way of serious gun laws.We have total wimps in Congress that will not stand up to them and the Congress is beholden to them for Campaign support, so this keeps on happening! The NRA owns the Government..

    Ever wonder why you don’t hear about things like this in Canada? Check out their gun laws!

    July 20, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. Name qb

    My god people , shut the hell up , this isn't about gun control, or politics , or anything except a tragic event which was the work of a lunatic. If he had used a gasoline bomb I suppose it would have brought out the gasoline control crowd. I am not a democrat but I appreciate our presidents gesture and wish more people would do the same.

    July 20, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Lady Fair – How about we send Beck, Hannity, Fox foreign owned media, and you to Chavez, and keep our president?

    July 20, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. Dragun

    I don't know about anyone else, but i cant wait to get off work, get home and hug the hell out of my daughter. She is 13, wants to see this movie badly, i just cant help thinking about those who will not get the chance to hug their loved ones today, and my heart is heavy with their grief.

    As the president said, "what matters at the end of day is not the small things, it's not the trivial things which so often consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately it's how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another."

    Everyone make sure to hug your children tightly tonight, because none of us know what tomorrow holds.

    July 20, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. TJN

    Aww...I think it is a very well spoken message to all people who have feelings. I will believe that my president , above any political motivation , is a person with feelings and compassion for others. Shame on others who would think that he is only politically motivated. Such a sad tragedy in our country has happened and I am moved that he spoke about it and even cancelled some of his agenda items today. Thank you Mr. President for speaking and following your heart and feelings on this sad tragedy.

    July 20, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. Will Smith

    To Rudy NYC- The second amendment has long outlived it's usefullness. In it's present form, it has no place in the modern world. The right to bare arms is not a God given right, it's an awsome responsibilty. Time and time again society has snown no ability to properly manage firearms. This nation has too many commandos and cowboys. The NRA is in fact public enemy number one.

    July 20, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. DTJ

    If his (the President) girls had been in the movie theatre then armed Secret Service members would have been in there too. The guy probably would have been dropped before he got of the first shot. This is reinforcement to tighten down on today's gun control laws and not to burden anyone's right to own a gun with additional legislation. One responsible armed adult in that theatre with a CCL could have ended this with less loss of life. My thoughts and prayers are with the impacted familys in Colorado.

    July 20, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  20. Jon

    Stop the political bantering ... can't you just stop trying to make political points at the suffering of these people ... I like what Anonymous said because he was trying to find a solution ... to praise Obama or Romney because of this or cut them down because of this is just wrong ... Step up and stop your political agendas and send your time comforting the victims with your prayers.

    July 20, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  21. CNN Fans

    Regardless, you are Republicans, Democrats and Independent....you should just listen carefully to what President said...today is our sad day...why you need to talk about politics ....just one day to show your respect and pray to victims...Please make this nation little calm and quiet ....Peaceful mind..for one day...

    July 20, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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