FORT MYERS (CBSMiami/AP) — President Barack Obama has cut his campaign trip in Florida short in the wake of the Colorado movie theater massacre in which 12 people died and dozens of others were wounded.
Speaking in Fort Myers Friday morning, President Obama said the tragic shooting is a reminder that life is fragile. He said the event “reminds us of all the ways that we are united as one American family.”
In Florida for a campaign swing, Obama asked for a moment of silence and focused his shortened remarks exclusively on the tragedy.
“Our time here is limited, and it is precious,” Obama told supporters in Fort Myers. “What matters at the end of the day is not the small things. It’s not the trivial things which consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately, it’s how we choose to treat one another, and how we love one another. It’s what we do on a daily basis to give our lives meaning and to give our lives purpose.”
President Obama issued a presidential proclamation Friday, honoring the victims of the tragedy. Read it here.
Obama canceled a second appearance scheduled near Orlando, and returned to Washington.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in a statement that he and his wife, Ann, were “deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence” that led to the loss of life and injuries. He said they were praying for the families and loved ones of the victims “during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice.”
Romney, too, was to address the matter at a previously scheduled campaign event in New Hampshire. He canceled some media interviews. Both candidates moved to pull ads against each other airing in Colorado.
Obama was notified at dawn at his hotel near West Palm Beach, Fla., by his counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan. The White House said there was no apparent connection to terrorism.
The assault by apparently one shooter killed 12 people and injured at least 50 others in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.
The enormity and horror of the incident immediately injected a new tone to the campaign, essentially demanding that both candidates for the time halt politics and attend to the nation’s shock at the tragedy.
Obama sought to temper the campaign spirit of those at his event to fit the mood of the day. He thanked his supporters and said he had looked forward to talking about the differences between Romney and him, saying instead: “This, I think, is a day for prayer and reflection.”
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