Transcript: President Obama addresses Arizona shooting memorial
January 12th, 2011
09:20 PM ET

Transcript: President Obama addresses Arizona shooting memorial

President Barack Obama spoke before an audience of more than 14,000 people Wednesday night at the University of Arizona in Tucson for a memorial event honoring the victims of the Saturday attack that killed six and left a congresswoman fighting for her life:

To the families of those we’ve lost; to all who called them friends; to the students of this university, the public servants gathered tonight, and the people of Tucson and Arizona: I have come here tonight as an American who, like all Americans, kneels to pray with you today, and will stand by you tomorrow.

There is nothing I can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts.  But know this: the hopes of a nation are here tonight. We mourn with you for the fallen.  We join you in your grief.  And we add our faith to yours that Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the other living victims of this tragedy pull through.

As Scripture tells us:

'There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy place where the Most High dwells.

God is within her, she will not fall;

God will help her at break of day.'

On Saturday morning, Gabby, her staff, and many of her constituents gathered outside a supermarket to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and free speech.  They were fulfilling a central tenet of the democracy envisioned by our founders - representatives of the people answering to their constituents, so as to carry their concerns to our nation’s capital.  Gabby called it “Congress on Your Corner” - just an updated version of government of and by and for the people.

That is the quintessentially American scene that was shattered by a gunman’s bullets.  And the six people who lost their lives on Saturday – they too represented what is best in America.

Judge John Roll served our legal system for nearly 40 years.  A graduate of this university and its law school, Judge Roll was recommended for the federal bench by John McCain twenty years ago, appointed by President George H.W. Bush, and rose to become Arizona’s chief federal judge.  His colleagues described him as the hardest-working judge within the Ninth Circuit.  He was on his way back from attending Mass, as he did every day, when he decided to stop by and say hi to his Representative.  John is survived by his loving wife, Maureen, his three sons, and his five grandchildren.

George and Dorothy Morris - “Dot” to her friends - were high school sweethearts who got married and had two daughters.  They did everything together, traveling the open road in their RV, enjoying what their friends called a 50-year honeymoon.  Saturday morning, they went by the Safeway to hear what their Congresswoman had to say.  When gunfire rang out, George, a former Marine, instinctively tried to shield his wife.  Both were shot.  Dot passed away.

A New Jersey native, Phyllis Schneck retired to Tucson to beat the snow. But in the summer, she would return East, where her world revolved around her 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 2 year-old great-granddaughter.  A gifted quilter, she’d often work under her favorite tree, or sometimes sew aprons with the logos of the Jets and the Giants to give out at the church where she volunteered.  A Republican, she took a liking to Gabby, and wanted to get to know her better.

Dorwan and Mavy Stoddard grew up in Tucson together – about seventy years ago. They moved apart and started their own respective families, but after both were widowed they found their way back here, to, as one of Mavy’s daughters put it, “be boyfriend and girlfriend again.” When they weren’t out on the road in their motor home, you could find them just up the road, helping folks in need at the Mountain Avenue Church of Christ.  A retired construction worker, Dorwan spent his spare time fixing up the church along with their dog, Tux.  His final act of selflessness was to dive on top of his wife, sacrificing his life for hers.

Everything Gabe Zimmerman did, he did with passion - but his true passion was helping people.  As Gabby’s outreach director, he made the cares of thousands of her constituents his own, seeing to it that seniors got the Medicare benefits they had earned, that veterans got the medals and care they deserved, that government was working for ordinary folks.  He died doing what he loved – talking with people and seeing how he could help.  Gabe is survived by his parents, Ross and Emily, his brother, Ben, and his fiancée, Kelly, who he planned to marry next year.

And then there is nine year-old Christina Taylor Green.  Christina was an A-student, a dancer, a gymnast, and a swimmer.  She often proclaimed that she wanted to be the first woman to play in the major leagues, and as the only girl on her Little League team, no one put it past her.  She showed an appreciation for life uncommon for a girl her age, and would remind her mother, “We are so blessed.  We have the best life.”  And she’d pay those blessings back by participating in a charity that helped children who were less fortunate.

Our hearts are broken by their sudden passing.  Our hearts are broken – and yet, our hearts also have reason for fullness.

Our hearts are full of hope and thanks for the 13 Americans who survived the shooting, including the congresswoman many of them went to see on Saturday.  I have just come from the University Medical Center, just a mile from here, where our friend Gabby courageously fights to recover even as we speak.  And I want to tell you, her husband Mark is here, and he allows me to share this with you. Right after we went to visit, a few minutes after we left her room and some of her colleagues from Congress were in the room, Gabby opened her eyes for the first time. [Applause] Gabby opened her eyes for the first time. [Applause] Gabby opened her eyes for the first time. Gabby opened her eyes. So I can tell you she knows we are here. She knows we love her and she knows that we will be rooting for her through what is undoubtedly going to be a difficult journey. We are there for her.

Our hearts are full of gratitude for those who saved others. We are grateful to Daniel Hernandez, a volunteer in Gabby’s office who ran through the chaos to minister to his boss, tending to her wounds to keep her alive. And, Daniel, I'm sorry, you may deny it, but we decided you are a hero because you ran through the chaos to minister to your boss and tend to her wounds and keep her alive.

We are grateful for the men who tackled the gunman as he stopped to reload. Right over there [pointing out men] We are grateful for petite Patricia Maisch, who wrestled away the killer’s ammunition and undoubtedly saved some lives. And we are grateful for the doctors and nurses and first responders who worked wonders to heal those who’d been hurt.

These men and women remind us that heroism is found not only on the fields of battle. They remind us that heroism does not require special training or physical strength. Heroism is here, all around us, in the hearts of so many of our fellow citizens, just waiting to be summoned, as it was on Saturday.

Their actions, their selflessness, poses a challenge to each of us. It raises the question of what, beyond prayers and expressions of concern, is required of us going forward.  How can we honor the fallen?  How can we be true to their memory?

You see, when a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations, to try to impose some order on the chaos, and make sense out of that which seems senseless.  Already we’ve seen a national conversation commence, not only about the motivations behind these killings, but about everything from the merits of gun safety laws to the adequacy of our mental health systems. And much of this process, of debating what might be done to prevent such tragedies in the future, is an essential ingredient in our exercise of self-government.

But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized - at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do - it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we're talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.

Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job, 'when I looked for light, then came darkness.' Bad things happen, and we have to guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.

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 these shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind.

Yes, we must examine all the facts behind this tragedy.  We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future.

But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other. That we cannot do. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let's use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together.

After all, that’s what most of us do when we lose someone in our family -– especially if the loss is unexpected.  We’re shaken out of our routines, forced to look inward. We reflect on the past. Did we spend enough time with an aging parent, we wonder. Did we express our gratitude for all the sacrifices they made for us? Did we tell a spouse just how desperately we loved them, not just once in awhile but every single day?

So sudden loss causes us to look backward – but it also forces us to look forward, to reflect on the present and the future, on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us. We may ask ourselves if we’ve shown enough kindness, generosity, compassion to the people in our lives. Perhaps we may question whether we are doing right by our children, our community, whether our priorities are in order. We recognize our own mortality; we are reminded that in our fleeting time on earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame -– but rather, how well we have loved, and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better.

That process of reflection, of making sure we align our values with our actions - that, I believe, is what a tragedy like this requires. For those who were harmed, those who were killed - they are part of our family, an American family 300 million strong. We may not have known them personally, but surely we see ourselves in them. In George and Dot, in Dorwan and Mavy, we sense the abiding love we have for our own husbands, our own wives, our own life partners. Phyllis - she’s our mom or our grandma; Gabe, our brother or son. In Judge Roll, we recognize not only a man who prized his family and doing his job well, but also a man who embodied America’s fidelity to the law. And in Gabby, we see a reflection of our public spiritedness, that desire to participate in that sometimes frustrating, sometimes contentious, but always necessary and never-ending process to form a more perfect union.

And in Christina, in Christina we see all of our children. So curious, so trusting, so energetic, so full of magic. So deserving of our love.

And so deserving of our good example. If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let’s make sure it’s worthy of those we have lost. Let’s make sure it’s not on the usual plane of politics and point-scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycle.

The loss of these wonderful people should make every one of us strive to be better - to be better in our private lives, to be better friends and neighbors, co-workers and parents. And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let us remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, it did not, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the challenges of our nation in a way that would make them proud.

We should be civil because we want to live up to the example of public servants like John Roll and Gabby Giffords, who knew first and foremost that we are all Americans, and that we can question each other’s ideas without questioning each other’s love of country, and that our task, working together, is to constantly widen the circle of our concern so that we bequeath the American dream to future generations.

They believe and I believe we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved lives here - they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another, that's entirely up to us. And I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us.

That’s what I believe, in part because that’s what a child like Christina Taylor Green believed.  Imagine, imagine here for a moment, a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just beginning to glimpse that someday she too might play a part in shaping her nation’s future.  She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting, something hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism, vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.

I want to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it. I want America to be as good as she imagined it. All of us - we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.

This was already mentioned, Christina was given to us on September 11th, 2001, one of 50 babies born that day to be pictured in a book called “Faces of Hope.” On either side of her photo in that book were simple wishes for a child’s life. 'I hope you help those in need,' read one. 'I hope you know all of the words to the National Anthem and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles.'

If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today. And here, on this Earth, we place our hands over our hearts, and we commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit.

May God bless and keep those we’ve lost in restful and eternal peace. May He love and watch over the survivors. And may He bless the United States of America.

soundoff (251 Responses)
  1. B

    I love my President and first lady. If you looked close enough you would have noticed he choked back tears, however, Michelle did not, she let hers flow. I am sure his daughters probably asked him a lot of questions such as why? and could that happen to us? I pray he had the words to help them understand. I truly believe we have one of the best presidents ever. Imagine what this country could have been and still could be like if all government officials banded together for the greater cause of mankind and look pass color and differences? You may say that I am a dreamer but Im not the only one, I hope you will join us so that the nation can be as one! I love you Mr. President one of the most hard working Presidents under adversity and scruitiny. You can only do so much, and its up to the people now. Anderson you were one of my favorites, but you still have a chance to right the wrong, add up these comments and tell that Dergen and that panel of yours they were way off base! Best speech ever!

    January 13, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • AC

      Agree. President Obama is Intellectual, Intelligent, and kind, a rare combination. He is the 21 Century world leader. We are lucky!

      January 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • margaret nongauza

      B: I fully agree!! We, the People, have yet another opportunity to respond to "What is required of us?" What WE do, say, think, day after day will make the difference you and I , and million s of others, hope for. A great leader – and we ARE richly blessed as a nation that Barack Obama and Michelle! are who they are – needs strong committed followers, supporters. Not huge accomplishments but answering to a Higher Authority as we live from day to day.

      January 13, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Laurie

    I take the President's words to heart. I won't lash out at some of the comments made here. This is a time when we need to come together as human beings and reflect on how we treat each other, not continue to spew hate and discourse.

    January 13, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      I truly do wish that we could use this tragedy as a way to find some common ground, gain some respect and lose the vitriol between each other. We are all Americans first. Because we differ in ideas is what used to make us great, lately it has just made us pointlessly react to each other. As Lincoln said, united we stand, divided we fall. Our enemies abroad must surely dance with glee when we squabble at each other, and spend our energy on defeating ourselves, rather than working together.

      Please United States. Be united. Conservative, liberal, republican, democrat. We really are on one team, if we want to be.

      January 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. B

    People also need to understand, there is a thin line between sane and insane in all of us. Sometimes it only take one situation, or push or statement, event to push us over. Then it may take one situation, event or push to bring us back to sanity. So we need to know that there are many insane people out there depending on what day it is and especially with this economy. Maybe this speech was just the event to push some back to sanity. So be careful about blaming the mentally ill because on any given day it could be you. Most get help and have no further problems and manage to function in society again. Some get medical attention and do well and some just need an event to snap them back to reality.

    January 13, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Grace

      You're lack of psychological insight is disturbing, but I admire the point you are making.

      January 13, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |

    I ask people what happend about on muslim ???????,???
    Presdient obama was used muslim pastor so how muslims was killed 13 of army at fort hood texas

    January 13, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Mo

      Are you capable of putting a sentence together

      January 13, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • JJay

      Your use of language is as ignorant as your thoughts.

      January 13, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Whew! With that sentance structure, you should run for office!

      January 13, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Willard: Go back to speechwriting for Sarah Palin.

      January 13, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Susan

    The President's speech brought me to tears. I have no clue how David Gergen, whom I once respected could bash the President's speech as being like a political rally. How is it they let him comment like this on such a tragic event? They won't allow comments under his article. He obviously read into it what he wanted to...

    I hope that all Americans will rise to this occasion and just cut it out – cut out the hatred, the rhetoric and really become quiet enough to listen to each other, not scream over each other.

    January 13, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Joy

      Instead of this being a memorial/eulogy service for the victims it turned out to be a POLITICAL PEP RALLY and I was offended by the hooting and hollaring from the audience. If someone had turned on the tv and didn't know what this was all about.... they would have assumed it was a CAMPAIGN RALLY. How sad it is that this had to be used that way.
      Yes parts of his speed were great, but why were there THOUSANDS of T-SHIRTS WITH SAYINGS ON THEM GIVEN OUT TO PEOPLE. Does that not say CAMPAIGN MODE????? If this was done by a conservative..... the blogs and CABLE NETWORKS would have been all over them for it being DISTASTEFUL. I am a Dem and thought the t-shirts were unacceptable.

      January 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Joy, those people were ready and in need of some cheering. At some point and time, there is only so much crying you can do. If you notice, they started cheering from the very beginning when they opened the service with prayer. They cheered when the student/intern got up and spoke to the audience. And they continued to cheer when the Governor and President spoke. Everyone mourns differently, and for those of us that aren't in tha community shouldn't be offended on how they chose to honor those that had been killed or hurt. I viewed the cheers as them rallying as a community and being proud of all of those people that were involved in stopping the terrorist, or tending to the injured during this tragic event.

      January 13, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      Joy – give it a rest. We get it – you don't like Obama. I didn't feel like it was a pep rally. His speech did not attack or say why one party was better than the other. Quite the opposite in fact. How some people can comment that it was a campaign speech only proves that the educational has failed many in reading comprehension – or comprehension in general.

      January 13, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • D. Simmons

      Will everyone check the facts before calling this an Obama campaign rally. This event was put together by the U. of Arizona. The t-shirts were passed out by the school. The hollering and cheering that was heard...those were the students. Stop pointing fingers just for the sake of passing blame to a man that you obviously do not like. Drown out the background noise, listen to the message within the speech...perhaps we all can be a little better.

      January 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Myflotus

    I love America and am proud and grateful of her President, and to be one of her 300 million strong. 'WE CANNOT AND WILL NOT BE PASSIVE IN THE FACE OF SUCH VIOLENCE. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future.' President of the United States of America, Barak Obama.

    January 13, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jan Davis, Knoxville, TN

    Never have I been as proud of my President as I was last night. He hit exactly the right tones in response to this national tragedy. His decency, kindness, love of people and families, and understanding were evident. I was just thinking, "how could anyone not vote for this wonderful man." I admire him not only as a great President, but as a dedicated husband and father. He loves his children beyond words–that is an example of a REAL MAN in my book.
    As far as the criticism of the cheers in the audience, people have to realize that is a typical reaction on college campuses. It is the spirit of college life. I thought it brought comfort to Tuscon and everyone affected by this event. I thought it was a very healing thing.
    Sarah Palin's remarks, on the other hand, were disgusting, anti-Semitic, and unthoughtful. Wake up America, re-elect President Obama and forget that idiot in Alaska. Let her go back to her disgusting hunting and killing of animals; her real concern is not ABOUT YOU but how much money she can make for herself.
    As a history buff, I now count my favorite Presidents as follows: (1) Franklin D. Roosevelt (2) Barack Obama (3) Jimmy Carter, and (4) Bill Clinton. Mr. President, you may eventually move up to #1 in my book. God bless and keep you.
    Yellow Dog Democrat, Tennessee

    January 13, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Whats makes me think you could have written this comment before the speach was even given?

      January 13, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Joy

      You have been drinking WAY TOO MUCH KOOL-AID. If you think Obama and Carter are a couple of the best presidents we have had then you need to go back and read the HISTORY on the Presidency of Carter. He is one of the worst presidents we have had... and now we have another BAD ONE.... GOD HELP THIS COUNTRY, BECAUSE MY DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY. I am ASHAMED AND EMBARASSED TO BE A DEMOCRAT. The Democratic party isn't what it used to be. It is a SPEND, SPEND, SPEND party that doesn't know when to stop spending.

      January 13, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jan Davis, Knoxville, TN

      For those of you who responded to my blog I would say you don't know a smart man (e.g., Obama) when you see one. Also, if you are ashamed of our great Democratic Party, I suggest you get out and join the Republican Party which is solely interested in rich people. Republicans could care less about the average person; I cannot understand any working class person voting for a Republican because they are voting themselves down the river. Call me whatever you like, but I've always worked in government and to me the more government the better. That's what keeps us who fall into hard times going. Think McCain, the new Speaker of the House, Sarah Palin, etc., are going to do anything for you if you are unemployed, starving, or in need of medical attention? Don't count on ANY help from Republicans.
      Also, I am a Southern Caucasian woman and Roman Catholic and the skin color of a politician has nothing to do with whether I vote for him/her or not. It's time this country thoroughly examines the extent to which is has fallen into the sins of bigotry and prejudice. I believe almost everyone is a child of God [my church teaches that EVERYONE is a child of God) and deserves love and respect and HELP! Proud to be a Democrat forever!!!!! I will put it on my tombstone you can count on that!

      January 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. helenhull102951

    While I applaud the heros of this tragidy and morn the deaths and pray for wounded and all families affected by this terrible crime, I have a problem with the number of politions that showed up to the event.. I feel it was nothing more than a photo op for them... And Prez Obama's speech was a very touching and caring one, the words he spoke were not of his own mind, but the words of a speech writer.. Although he added his own feelings to it, he was taking credit for something he did not write.. This bothers me alittle!!! At least he did'nt the war or the economical problems. But again, I feel for all Arizona people and wish them all a speedy recovery and may God Bless the families that lost loved ones... *Wayne*. From California

    January 13, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      Obama normally writes ALL of his speeches himself. Please cite reference if you have found out otherwise.

      January 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • BC

      @Brenda – really he writes all his own speeches? Check out this link on his 27 year old speech writer
      Your investigation skills and follow up should land you a nice law enforcement job in Pima County

      January 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • fs

      that's just what our president needs to do, spend hours writing speeches when there are plenty of other pressing problems in this country and around the world that need to be addressed. (hint: 80 people are killed every day by guns, so it's understandable if he can't come up with the 10-15 hours of research time to put this together).... on top of that, EVERY president had a speechwriter, but the guy who ultimately decides the tone and what to leave and pull out is Mr. Obama.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. Liar

    As Scripture tells us: "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day."

    Obama the hypocrite. Seriously, you say the Bible says stoning is okay and that slavery is justified, but sadly on a closer examination, but in Exodus slavery is not only prohibited but it incurs utter destruction upon those who do it.

    And stoning is only if it's proven and if it is unauthorized between the family, so he's selectively using verses from the Bible, just like he did with the Qur'an at Cairo.

    January 13, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      I was surprised at President Obama quoting scripture. I think that it is wonderful. Quoting scripture doesn't mean he is a hypocrite. That particular passage applied to the situation, applied to those who were lost, or injured, or heroic in the midst of this tragedy, so I think it was completely appropriate.

      Obama's speech writer deserves kudos, but the delivery and the message itself were pure Obama. Makes me proud of our President.

      January 13, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • csl

      Kim – Sounds like you want to date him.....or at least wash his feet!

      January 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Kim – Anyone can quote scripture. Even Satan quoted scripture when he was tempting Jesus. It's right there in the Bible.

      January 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • myklds

      @kim...Don't mind this type people and don't bother yourself to reply them. It was neither about Pres. Obama nor his speech as a whole but on the verses he quoted from the bible.

      All of this is nothing but a typical Atheist remarks w/c came from the top of their god allergic lungs.

      And didn't you know that the shooter just "don't trust in God"? If a person who "don't TRUST God" could do such horrific crime, can you imagine of those people who don't BELIEVE in God capable of doing? People who think that they're answerable to no one but themselves?

      Don't ever argue people of this kind, for your own safety.

      January 14, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. csl

    Would he have given the same speech if 20 "ordinary" people were shot somewhere else. Say, at a store in Mississippi?
    And please would some of you quit throwing the word racist out there when someone disagrees or, heaven forbid, doesnt like Obama. You hear the word "racist" now more than you did in the 60s. And I bet most of you who throw it out there were not even born then.

    January 13, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      If Obama made a speech every time the "average" joe got killed then he would never have time to do anything else. That is the state of our country today – constant violence.

      This comment is pretty ignorant. I'm sorry, it is. You are part of the problem, try to think before you post.

      January 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Maggie

    Sorry, my comment was directed @Jim Brieske

    January 13, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. peggy

    We need to open up our hearts, minds and intellect to comprehend what is happening-how it affects us all and grasp the opportunity for redemption in becoming better parents, friends, community members and world citizens. Several sad things have been happening lately. We seem to be missing the point of taking responsibility for how we live and treat others. Our capacity for hate, criticism and harm is great. Let's move the discussion to higher ground. It is 2011 you know.

    January 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pat

    For the person that wanted to know why the t shirts were there, and said that if it had been done by a republican it woudl have been wrong, you should listen more. The university did the t-shirts, not the president, neither was it democrates. So many of you don't even know whats going on

    January 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |

    Presdident bush are great catched charge against terroist than obama
    I thanks for presdient bush keep against terroist but obama are not strongest cause he is still weak

    January 13, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      Again, can we get a coherent statement from you?

      January 13, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      on second thought, don't even bother.

      January 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Willard, I have seen the enemy, and it is you Buddy.

      January 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JC

    To the trolls on this board who are baiting and exploiting the situation to make offensive comments about the President, his speech, or the political ideology that they stand opposite to: Spend as much energy as you do on finding fault in our leaders as you might in doing something, ANYTHING to make the country better. To troll a memorial message board to try and incite divisiveness is one thing, but in doing so, you are exposing yourself as a troll on our country. Anyone can nitpick and skew perspectives to spin what the President said into a negative. What takes thought and frankly, patriotism, is to glean something positive from what was said and embrace the idea of how we can make this great country better. These are serious times and they require serious people. Not mindless naysayers who's sole objective is to tear down the people they disagree with so that they can feel smug about themselves. If you can't live up to your responsibility as a US citizen and decent human being, then have the awareness to at least get the hell out of the way as the people who want something more for this country step up and try to make it a better place for everybody. Your trite and pithy little remarks just serve as self incriminating mantras of a person who can't think for themselves.

    January 13, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
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