He brought “the love and prayers of a nation” to a grieving town in the wake of tragedy.
The school auditorium filled to its 900 person capacity well before the vigil started as the father of two daughters addressed them from a simple podium adorned with the Presidential Seal. The only other colors notable were the flags of Connecticut and the United States of America and a small table with 26 small white votive candles, one for each victim.
“As these difficult days have unfolded, you have also inspired us with stories of strength and resolve and sacrifice.”
Obama asked if America was doing enough, a question which he himself quickly answered:
“No. And this must change.
“We can’t tolerate this any longer. These tragedies must end.
“Are we prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is the price of our freedom?”
President Obama then vowed to “use whatever power this office holds to engage our citizens … to save another child or another parent or another town.”
He finished with a prayer in which he asked God to bless them “with His holy comfort.”
A White House official said Obama, offering no comment as he departed the White House, personally wrote most of his planned remarks. He then boarded Air Force One alongside Reps. John Larson and Rosa DeLauro, both D-Conn.