April 15th, 2013
05:45 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama makes statement on Boston bombings

(CNN)– President Barack Obama said he ordered the "full resources" of the federal government to respond to the Boston bombings on Monday, and that he also called for increased security around the United States as necessary.

"We still do not know who did this or why," he said from the Brady Press Briefing Room, cautioning people against jumping to conclusions. "But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this, and we will find out who did this, we'll find out why they did this."

Any individuals or groups responsible for the "senseless" bombing, he added, will "feel the full weight of justice."

"The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight," he said.

Notably absent from his remarks was the word "terror," though federal investigators are classifying the bombings as a terror event. It is not clear if it's from a domestic or foreign source, a federal law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation said.

Full transcript: Obama reacts to 'senseless' bombings

"Today is a holiday in Massachusetts, Patriot's Day. It's a day that celebrates the free and fiercely independent spirit that this great American city of Boston has reflected from the earliest days of our nation, and it's a day that draws the world to Boston's streets in a spirit of friendly competition," he said. "Boston is a tough and resilient town, so are its people. I'm supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city and as they do, the American people will be with them every single step of the way."

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FBI Director Robert Mueller to receive an update on the explosions that occurred in Boston, in the Oval Office, April 15, 2013. Seated with the President are Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

After Obama's statement, a White House official said "any event with multiple explosive devices – as this appears to be – is clearly an act of terror, and will be approached as an act of terror."

"However, we don’t yet know who carried out this attack, and a thorough investigation will have to determine whether it was planned and carried out by a terrorist group, foreign or domestic," the official continued.

According to the president's Facebook page, an organized call-in event scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed.

"Due to the events at the Boston Marathon, we are postponing tomorrow's National Call Day on gun violence prevention. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Boston," his Facebook stated.

The event, run by the advocacy group Organizing for Action, would have organized supporters to call their senators and urge them to support the current gun legislation bill.

Over on Capitol Hill, House Speaker John Boehner led a moment of silence on the House floor for victims in Boston.

House Speaker John Boehner talks to President Barack Obama on the phone Monday around 5:30 p.m. ET.

And a press conference to roll out the so-called Gang of Eight's immigration plan has also been postponed, according to Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.

Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, was on a conference call earlier in the day about the Senate legislation to combat gun violence when he heard about the explosions.

"As I'm speaking here, they just turned on the television in my office and apparently there has been a bombing– I don't know any of the details of what caused it, who did it–I don't think it exists yet but our prayers are with those people in Boston who have suffered injuries," he said. "I don't know how many of them there are. I'm looking at it on television now."

- CNN's Tom Cohen, Jessica Yellin and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (417 Responses)
  1. Dale

    Why is it so hard for this President to say the word "Terrorist"? It doesn't matter if it's Islamic extremist or homegrown it's still a "TERROSIST ATTACK"!!!

    April 15, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  2. Broheem

    Well I think its frustration with the way Obama is handled with kid gloves. If this were Bush, Obama Lovers would be doing the same thing to Bush just like after 911. I think he's reaching for something to complain about with Obama. Give it time (@just askin) there will be plenty to complain about soon enough on this issue. Chris Matthews started calling this a right wing domestic terror plot after it happened. There is a legit thing to get worked up about

    April 15, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  3. awshucks

    Not an Obama fan..however, I read the article and I do appreciate what he said, and did not say. I do believe his sincerity and I also believe he refrained from using the "T" word so as not to fuel flames of fear, hate and lashing out as a means to retaliate against a, yet, unknown attacker(s).

    April 15, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |

    We are what government makes US, no matter what country or people of any country, some shrug and some act in violence. Its human nature and its sad that government refuses to evolve in its ability to serve the people it is suppose to serve.

    April 15, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  5. RomneyWho

    Wait until the smoke clears and who ever is still standing, did it! 🙁

    April 15, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester

    There's a difference between treating the event as a terrorist attack (which is proper, because it may well be), and calling it a terror attack (which we do not yet know it was).

    And really, who cares as long as the response is correct? Haven't we got more important things to do–for example, actually investigate the event rather than just try to make political hay out of it–than quibble over whether the President said a particular word?

    April 15, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  7. pmmarion

    We don't know who it is yet and if the authorities have received anything from anybody claiming responsibility they have not said so. Remember this is Boston. The IRA may have finally lost it and decided to do something.

    April 15, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  8. OldSchool

    I must admit, I am baffled by people's obsession with things being labeled as "terrorism". It is a horrible and unfortunate event, it doesn't matter if you call it flibbityflobbityfloo, a word doesn't change what happened...

    Now cue the hyperbolic, jingoist right wingers who have a problem with everything....

    April 15, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  9. Smeagel4T

    Thank you Mr. President for not using the word "terror". It is a word that has been trampled so completely into the ground by excessive use that it has about as much meaning as "war on" these days.

    April 15, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  10. J Y

    Nothing wrong with this. It would be reckless to jump to conclusions within a few hours.

    April 15, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  11. Sal

    @just askin ... I sort of relate to your temperment there, but I think you may have spoke your mind in haste- discounting the fact that if it was you or any of your departments in charge (in terms of events like in Boston), I'm not 100% sure if there would have been anything else 'better' to say at that point.

    April 15, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  12. The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester

    Who cares what word the President used? It's proper for the authorities to treat this as a terrorist attack, because it may well have been one. However, it's equally proper to not call it one yet because we don't know for certain that it was one. It's more important to actually investigate the event than to try to make political hay out of it.

    April 15, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  13. larry c

    On your watch Obama.

    April 15, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  14. momzna

    I guess, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

    April 15, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  15. momzna

    Can't say terrorist?

    April 15, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  16. RSVP

    I'm glad the president didn't use the word "terrorist" in his statement. The local officials already have had to back track on the JFK fire that they originally called the third bombing. It's serious business to be claiming something is a terrorist attack. I'm glad they are going through all of the debris at the sites of these explosions to get to the bottom of it. Then they can make an intelligent report to the public. Whether it's a terrorist attack or not, I hope they catch whoever did this or was involved asap for those who lost their lives, their families and the others who were injured.

    April 15, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  17. Mike A. Layne

    Once again, someone else looking to point the finger at Obama. "Isn't it their job to do this?" Do what exactly?

    April 15, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  18. tbennett92

    "Obama doesn't say terror?" You mean, the President didn't jump to conclusions? How dare he?

    Seriously, CNN, could you try to be journalists, and NOT use inflammatory statements?

    April 15, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  19. Locker

    Yes that's the big story, that the President didn't use the word "terror" to discuss an incident we know nothing about. Right. Classy CNN.

    April 15, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  20. Name

    Wow. Not even 24 hours and we are already dissecting the fact that Obama didn't say "terror". What a time we live in

    April 15, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  21. David

    I'm sorry but he is just awful. "Good afternoon . . ." I love the way he spoke from the heart between reading his scripted notes. This probably messes up his evening plans of fundraising and celebrity outings.

    April 15, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  22. Alex

    Well they only have 1 week left because...
    Govt furlough starts next weeks!!

    April 15, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  23. E Co

    This is pretty weak.

    April 15, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  24. American Vet

    Two people die by bombs and we call it a "terror attack." Twenty six people get slaughtered by guns and it's just a shooting.

    April 15, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  25. jerpell

    Hmm...Nothing here seems to fit into his liberal agenda....Nothing here to ban!

    April 15, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
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