President Obama traveled to Newtown, Connecticut this evening to address the community in the wake of the horrific massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary. Business Insider reports:
Obama has taken the stage in Newtown. According to a White House pool report, he carried his speech in a black folder and delivered his remarks without a teleprompter.
“Scripture tells us, do not lose heart, for outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day," he began. "Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayer of a nation."
"It could have been any school. It could have been any town in America," he said. "All across this land of ours, we have wept with you.
"Newtown, you are not alone."
Recounting anecdotes of the heroism at Sandy Hook on Friday, Obama then described a scene of children helping each other, and one kid encouraging a teacher: "It's okay — I know karate, so I'll lead the way out."
"Newtown, you have inspired us."
"But we as a nation are left with some hard questions," he continued.
"Every parent knows there's nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm...but we can't always be there for them," Obama said. "This job of keeping our kids safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together."
"We're all parents," he said. "They're all our children. This is our first task--caring for our children...This is how we'll be judged."
"By that measure, can we truly say as a nation that we’re meeting our obligations?"
"If we’re honest with ourselves the answer is no. We’re not doing enough, and we’ll have to change.”
Noting that this is the fourth time as President he has had to address a grieving community in the wake of a mass shooting, Obama continued:
"We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them we must change."
"In the coming weeks I will use whatever powers this office holds…in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this," Obama added, although he did not elaborate on what that effort might entail.
"No single law or set of laws can eliminate evil from the world," he said. "But that can't be an excuse for inaction."
"Are we really prepared to say we are powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard?" he asked.
President Obama finished his 18-minute speech by reading the names of the victims and saying, “God has called them all home…Let us find the strength to carry on make the country worthy of their memory.” According to reports, Obama privately told Connecticut Gov. Malloy that Friday was the most difficult day of his presidency.