July 20th, 2012
11:40 AM ET
9 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. ja

    i will call it an act of terrorism, by a coward, we fail to call acts within our borders terrorism, holmes should not be put to death immediately after trial, the insanity plea shouldn't be allowed,

    July 20, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. cali ha ha

    I support gun control. Nra supports profits

    July 20, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. Babyboomer

    Thank you Mr. President for those thoughtful and heartfelt remarks. To the people of Aurora CO., I pray for you and your loved ones who were hurt or lost to this senseless violence. Peace and Blessings my sisters and brothers.

    July 20, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    By the time Mittens' splice and edit team is done, we will only hear President Obama say, " . . . a tragedy . . . is . . .precious."

    July 20, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. ST

    It is quite disturbing the kind of life we are living nowadays. Peoples heads are quite disturbed. They no longer value life at all and take it so simply. How sad to see a person who survived cancer just one bullet pulled out by a crazy person put her life to an end. Very painful.

    July 20, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. Romney is not My Hero

    I wish that putting our differences aside and being one American family were a daily occurrence. It's sad that only tragedy can bring us together. United States today – Divided States tomorrow....

    July 20, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  7. Ferathka

    It is nice to see that Obama took a campaign event and used it to speak on the tragedy in Colorado. It is also nice to see that he cancelled the rest of his events and will head back to Washingtion. Hopefully Mittens does the same and tries to look like a leader....

    July 20, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  8. Newmoon2

    Thoughts and prayers with the families of those killed and the injured. Life is indeed very fragile and can change in the blink of an eye.

    July 20, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. BigTBone

    You'll never take guns out of the hands of the American public. Logistical and cultural nightmare.

    However, would it hurt for a periodical psychological/competency interview once in a while with a mental health expert?

    Use of a firearm in the commission of a felony can have a fast track death penalty recommended by the judge/jury?

    Something? Anything?

    July 20, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  10. Bob

    Well said, Mr President.

    July 20, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  11. chuck weidemann

    Stop the hate!!! Understand we all suffer and always care about one another.....even those we disagree with...its the only way forward. God bless the lost souls and may the families left behind find peace.

    July 20, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. Unapologetic American

    Translation: We'll put aside politics today, but we're going to work on undermining the Second Amendment tomorrow.

    July 20, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. B

    Insanity plea should not even be on the table!

    July 20, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. Johnny DC

    We should all come together as one "united American family"... that is until tomorrow, when I will urge the minorities to hate the white people, the poor to hate the wealthy, the women to hate everyone who stands in their way of free handouts, and the elderly to hate anyone who even thinks about reforming entitlements to save our future.

    For 45 minutes, Obama wants us to come together.

    Last time I heard this joke was 2008, when I voted for him over Clinton. Fool me once...

    July 20, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. paulcat

    Maybe this man was just standing his ground. Right, NRA?

    July 20, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. papanez

    I think if you're into the 2nd Amendment then apply it in the way it was intended when it was written. Muskets! If you want a gun, get a musket. And only 1!

    July 20, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. Name john drpich

    President Obama could not have said it any better. A true tragedy! My heart goes out the the families that lost a loved one.

    July 20, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. Pamela

    The only way to have a peaceful society is to have a well armed society. Or say the zealots! I hope this is not another quiet person who stayed on his Facebook and pounded society instead of seeking help. Or much for the quiet ones who are usually the most dysfunctional and who need to bear arms for their own protection. There is a woman in GA – a college student – who has posted herself well armed. She has supporters and many have said , including her father, that she should not be prosecuted. I shudder to think of the possibilities that I will be taken down at work or anywhere by a well armed nut case.

    July 20, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. Andy

    "This isnt a day for politics"

    Then why did you open your fat mouth. Same goes for you Mittens

    July 20, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. TJ

    Remember now... that man did not shoot all those people, but Gov't did. You cannot shoot all those people without the help of others, like those who build bridges and roadways.

    Hey, HoBama, take a LONG walk off a short pier, and you will finally have "done for your country".

    July 20, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. Andy

    "This isnt a day for politics"

    Then why did you go and open you big mouth? Same for you mittens

    July 20, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. TJ

    Remember now... that man did not sh00t all those people, but Gov't did. You cannot sh00t all those people without the help of others, like those who build bridges and roadways.

    Hey, HoBama, take a LONG walk off a short pier, and you will finally have "done for your country".

    July 20, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. W.G.

    Thank you Mr. Obama for truly representing our country in these trying times . That said , Mr. Romney
    I wish you would demand that Romney be audited and prosecuted if found guilty of commiting a
    federal crime . Not today of course , monday is soon enough .

    July 20, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "The only way to have a peaceful society is to have a well armed society."

    Oh come now...nothing says "peaceful society" like "I got off the first shot."

    July 20, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. Joyce

    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 |
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