January 11th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

What can Pres. Obama say in Tucson to ease the pain?


President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama observed a moment of silence yesterday to honor the victims  of the Arizona tragedy. (PHOTO CREDIT: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It is the nature of events that confront our leaders that often serve to define them.

In the wake of the Tucson massacre, President Obama has been given an opportunity to deliver on a promise he made long ago: to raise the level of political discourse and by so doing to unify this country.

Politico has an excellent piece on how this tragedy presents Mr. Obama the chance to elevate the nasty tone of politics; much like Bill Clinton did after the Oklahoma City bombing.

Political analysts say that the president could use this experience to help move the country to a higher moral ground.

This is a promise the president first made in his famous 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention. And civil discourse is something he also talked about tirelessly on the campaign trail and since he's been in office.

But action speaks louder than words, and in the last two years we haven't seen much, if any, of this in Washington. In fact, the partisan divisions and heated rhetoric between the two sides are arguably worse than they've ever been.

And President Obama, at times, has been part of the problem. During the campaign, then-candidate Obama said of countering Republican attacks, "if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." And more recently, in the lead-up to the midterms, the president referred to Republicans as "enemies."

The president has called the Tucson shootings "a tragedy for the entire country." He's headed there on Wednesday. A nation increasingly weary of anger and division will be listening.

Here’s my question to you: What can President Obama say in Tucson to ease the pain?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Dianne writes:
He can't. All he can do is acknowledge the pain. There is some comfort in simply having one's pain acknowledged.

Carol in Massachusetts writes:
He should be more community organizer, less professor. Pres. Obama should focus on the good people of America, heroes at the shooting site, health care providers... the things that make us more alike than different. And in the end, he should react as a father of two young daughters.

Rita writes:
The president, by going to Tucson, shares his humanity. He can't ease the pain, but as a man and president he can share in it.

Marvin in Polo, Missouri writes:
Jack, I think that President Obama needs to use the tragedy in Tucson as an example of what we can expect in the future if we do not unite as a country and work together to solve the problems we face. He needs to tell the American people what their lives will be like if we continue to fight each other.

John in Alabama writes:
Jack, Sometimes there is nothing that can be said to ease the pain of those who have lost loved ones. President Obama's appearance at a memorial service alone is a strong sign that this nation mourns the loss of life in Tucson. The president's message should be very personal and directed to those whose loss is the greatest.

Michael in New Mexico writes:
At an elementary school in Tucson, there is an empty desk. It belonged to a little girl whose classmates sit in shock and wait for an explanation. There is an empty bench in a court room where justice goes unanswered. In Washington, there is an empty seat where the voice of half a million people goes unheard. President Obama must give us back that voice, for justice, for the future of those children.

Filed under: President Barack Obama • Tragedy • United States
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. stevegee

    Nothing. No words from Obama will ease the grieving, but he can stop the ugly blame game being played by the left and the liberal media. Obama should act like a president and demand that they stop pointing fingers at the conservative movement. Campaign rhetoric and political commentary had nothing to do with the act of a madman.

    - Steve in Philadelphia

    January 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  2. Marie Moody

    The President could tell the families that there is nothing in this world that he could say that would make them feel any better but that he is really sorry for the loss of their loved ones.

    He could also say that he hopes that the whole world would learn to watch what we say about others in case we hurt people or cause others to misinterpret our words and then end up hurting people.


    January 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  3. rita nalette and mr b

    From beautiful Whidbey Isle WA – POTUS by going to Tucson shares his humanity. He can't ease the pain but as a man and President he can share in it.

    January 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  4. bud rupert

    This is tricky Jack. But I have a feeling that whatever the President says will come across as honest, sincere and smart.
    When President Obama needs to rise to the occasion he does.

    January 11, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  5. Dianne Mize

    He can't. All he can do is acknowledge the pain. There is some comfort in simply having one's pain acknowledged.

    January 11, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  6. Simon-Orlando

    He can stay away from the "blame game". This was a senseless act by a deranged individual. There is absolutely no evidence that he was an avid listener or viewer of any particular radio or cable show on the left or the right. He was just insane.

    January 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  7. Dan Louisville, KY

    Actually I cannot fathom any words that can ease the pain. But what he can do is speak for us all in expressing our sympathy to all of the victims' families, and he can be the nation's shoulder to cry on. And he can add balance and perspective to this tragedy by commending the quick and heroic action of bystanders who stopped the gunman and treated the wounded.

    A free society can take reasonable precautions to protect public safety, but when tragedy occurs, whether by natural event like earthquake, or by accident such as fire or plane crash, or by deliberate attack such as occurred in Tucson, REAL Americans pitch in, help each other through the crisis.

    January 11, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  8. Sylvia in San Diego


    He should say,

    "I have the previlege of speaking on behalf of all the people of the United States and we are all sadden by senseless violence. Please be kind to your neighbors and expecially to those who are stuggling through personal, financial or emotional issues. Let us all become beacons of love and support for one another. That I am sure is the legacy that those who lost their lives would like to be remembered by."

    January 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  9. Chris from NY

    There is nothing anyone can say to the bereaved to ease their pain until they reach acceptance stage or phase of the grieving process.

    January 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  10. James Anderson

    He should declare this a random act of violence and not attributed to any partisian rhetoric or special interest agenda.
    This is just what his administration said about the Fort Hood

    January 11, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  11. B.J., Quincy, Il

    The best thing he can do is say that this is a terrible tragety, that he and Mrs. Obama will be praying for all of the victims of thid stupidity. Then say nothing more.

    January 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  12. ken, atlantic city, nj

    Obama should say something to ease the pain of the families of the other 20,000 people who are murdered every year. It seems like obama and the media are trying to create the illusion that the arizona incident is the only shooting and murders that have ever been commited in the U.S. What happened in arizona is tragic but it happens every day in america. Obama should at the very least recognize the fact that people on main street are killed everyday and assure people that he has a plan to deal with the shootings and stabbings that take place everyday. We need to do a lot more than limiting gun clips to 15 shots. Is 15 shots an acceptable level of violence for the u.s.

    January 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  13. Tina Tx

    Jack no one can comfort the family during the horrendous part of their lifetime. But it is a nice jesture that the president took time out of his busy schedule to go and comfort the family. What would help is that all people become less hateful towards each other. We, Americans are supposed to become Christians but we have become a nation of hate mongers and it is time to shut up and lets come back together as a nation and lets heal. We did it once before during 9/11.

    January 11, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  14. Charles

    I wish the best for President Obama. I hope that he is able to mend the hearts of the families of those that were lost and injured. This is a tragic moment that shows how tense things are in our country. We have a President who wants and wanted to mend the ties between both parties. Now we have a political party that is saying and doing anything, good or bad, just to try to ensure that President Obama does not get re-elected....I have voted for people in both parties over the last few elections, but with the conspiracy of politics that is going on, this has ensured me to not vote for one Republican person in this coming election! Our country is divided due to the language that has been spoken in politics. Let's band back together as a nation, as a country, first, and create wealth for Americans again!

    January 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  15. calaurore9

    He should be more community organizer, less professor. PrezO should focus on the good people of America, heroes at the shooting site, heath care providers; the things that make us more alike than different. And in the end, he should react as a father of two young daughters.

    Carol in MA

    January 11, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  16. Craig from North Beach, MD

    President Obama can use what happened in Tucson to bring the country together by decisively saying, “Enough is enough!” In the aftermath of the tragedy, the debate rages on about whether heated rhetoric and provocative imagery is to blame for what happened to Representative Giffords. How does that move the country forward if people are so quick to go on the attack or go on the defense? Fighting heated rhetoric with heated rhetoric is like fighting fire with fire. Consequently, the President has an opportunity to lead by example and focus on what matters most about the tragedy, such as remembering those who were lost and focusing on the recovery of Representative Giffords. The worst thing he could do at this point in time is engage in a discussion that inevitably ends with choosing sides.

    January 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  17. Rick, Medina, OH


    The President should make his visit to Tuscon tomorrow anything but a political event. He should lead us in mourning those lost so senselessly, and provide support to the survivors and the families of all those touched by this tragedy. Mr. Obama should refer to his countrymen as Americans, not Democrats or Republicans, and he should avoid using his stay as a platform for anything. In short, he should be a statesman, a skill that is in high demand right now.

    Medina, OH

    January 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  18. KDS Irvine, CA

    There is nothing the president can say to ease the pain. After the media moves on to the next big story and the president returns to Washington, the families of the victims are still mourning their loss and nothing will be the same for them again.

    January 11, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  19. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua

    He can continue to focus on exactly what we all need to focus on, the positive role modeling of the victims of the slaughter. The example of Judge Roll, Mr. Zimmerman, Rep. Giffords, and the citizenry who exercised their rights and duties as democrats in this unrelenting democracy.

    January 11, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  20. Dee in New Paris Ohio

    What do we expect the President to say? Are his words going to be magical just because he is President, or because he is Barack Obama?

    He can say he is terribly sorry for the loss of those killed, he can say he is praying for the speedy recovery of those injured. He can say he is going to bring all the power of the government to bear, trying to stop such senseless tragedies.

    Not a single word will change what happened or bring back those killed.

    If the President speaks as if h knew those killed or injured, making it personal, I think that would be the best thing he could do.

    January 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  21. AzRose

    Unless Obama takes responsibility for some of the words that he has spoken as you mentioned in your comments, it won't matter what he says. During the past few days, the terrible accusations coming from politicians and the media have ignited an already terrible tragegy into a political tug of war. I am afraid that this issue is not going away any time soon. The sad part is that Rep. Giffords would probably be the first to say stop the nonsense and get back to work.

    January 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  22. Wade

    What can President Obama say in Tucson to ease the pain?

    What can he say. I am sure he is just as sorry as many of us are in America. I am sure that he will work to ensure that the Violent Rhetoric is toned down and that he will take a look at our gun laws.

    That is what I want to hear.

    Sacramento CA

    January 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  23. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    He can say that it is time to knock down the walls of absolute ideology. To stop all the ideological totalism that dictates that if you do not think like us, if you do not act like us, and if you do not speak like us you are not welcome. As these walls become higher and we become more isolated as groups the more despair is created.

    He can also say that we must stop this religion of hopelessness and build a city of mankind where all are welcome, no matter race, religion, sexual orientation, beliefs. It is when we come to understand that it is our differences that make us stronger will we all begin to create hope.

    But in the end, he and all of us must lead by our examples of compassion, gratitude, and love for all people.

    January 11, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  24. terry

    nothing he can say will ease the pain of those who lost loved ones in this tragedy ............but, being there will help , somewhat

    January 11, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  25. Dennis north Carolina

    there are no words that Obama can say to the people in Tucson about the Tucson tragedy to ease the pain. his presents in Tucson will show the people that his mind and thoughts are with the victims and their families and the people of Tucson in a period of mourning. a good leader will be seen more than heard during a tragedy.

    January 11, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  26. Ed from California

    How about, "Give peace a chance". In reality, Just express the sorrow that we are all feeling towards the victims of this senseless crime. "We" all need to start acting civilized towards each other, and stop this hatred towards our fellow man.

    January 11, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  27. Sean in Michigan

    An acknowledgment that the nasty political rhetoric is the fault of both sides, not just Limbaugh and Palin would be a start.
    A bold statement that politicians will no longer demonize each other for political advantage, along with leading his party in that direction, would go even further.
    Ultimately it's not up to him or politicians. It's up to us who give mindless pot-stirring pundits ratings when they rant, it's up to us who elect extremists from both parties instead of for voices of reason.

    January 11, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  28. Patsy, Texas

    Jack, only God and time will ease the pain. President Obama may
    have said some things you find unnecessary, but it is a stretch to
    insinuate that anything he, or most others, have said to match the
    rhetoric of Palin, Beck and Limbaugh. Limbaugh takes no responsibility
    for his hateful words, Ayles said Palin had made her statement and
    that was enough (I never saw anything but tweets and others speaking
    for her). To continually defend these people for the sake of ratings
    is stupidity at its worst. Respect for each other is the only way, and
    it is not going to happen as long as "me right, you wrong" attitudes do not
    change. Thank you.

    January 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  29. Arlene, Illinois

    The President will probably say all the right things on Wed.
    but by next week the the other side will disclaim his every word.
    This country is so polarized that the country will never agree
    on anything that what you are for.
    Its a good thing therRepublicans didn't repeal health last week
    or those poor souls, who were shot, might not have gotten the
    hospital care they needed.

    January 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  30. Michael H. in Albuquerque, NM

    At an elementary school in Tuscon there is an empty desk. It belonged to a little girl whose classmates sit in shock and wait for an explaination. There is an empty bench in a court room where justice goes unanswered. I Washington there is an empty seat where the voice of halfmillion people goes unheard. President Obama must give us back that voice, for justice, for the future of those children.

    January 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  31. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack about all Obama can say is for people to have understanding. No one knows why this shooting occurred. Only one man knows and he is not saying right now. It was a senseless act that no amount of explaining is going to sooth. If any good can come of this it might be that the members of congress need to set the tone for the nation and lead by example. That example needs to be a good example and the hateful rhetoric needs to go away and the leaders in Washington need to start leading a nation to heal and to stop dividing it by their statements and actions.

    January 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  32. Terry in Chandler, AZ

    I hope he says little in Tucson as the day belongs to the city and the families. However, in a few days, I hope he demonstrates the leadership skills he has yet seldom uses, and addresses the nation. He needs to address the vitriol, the anger, the hateful words that so many people are using. He should address this problem in the same manner he did when he gave the race speech during the campaign.
    This is what a true leader would do.

    January 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  33. Marsha Radulovich

    President Obama can remind us that we have experienced similar violent acts at the whim of madmen and no words can ease our pain over previous tragedies or what just happened in Arizona.
    How can one understand the incomprehensible or explain the inexplicable?
    Saturday's survivors and the rest of us can only hold each other a little closer and say our I-love-yous a bit more often and pray for those who have been affected and are suffering because of a vicious madman.

    Port Orange, Florida

    January 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  34. Kevin of SD CA

    Tell him that this is not a lesson in toning down rhetoric but a lesson in personal responsibility to representatives to have humility rather than arrogance; and to be careful who they dismiss, condescend or ignore! My local news anchors don’t understand the question, “what does government mean if your word means nothing?” but I do!
    Tell Obama that this is one big reason for him and his party to have focused on reforming public schools, the department of corrections, the mental health department, and the rest of the union run departments; rather than trying to shove socialized healthcare down the throats of the private sector while all the government unions are given golden umbrellas of healthcare and entitlements for their total failures at their individual positions! Tell him that the hand he and his liberals use to point at Sara Palin have three fingers pointing right back at them!

    January 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  35. Judie Wm's -- El Lago TX

    Perhaps to address the process......shock, disbelief, denial, anger, and at some point which is different for each individual...acceptance....

    To reassure the citizens in some way, however I am at a loss as to what could be said.

    TOO MANY times in this country we have witnessed mass killings...Oklahoma...college campuses, cafeterias, and so many
    public places. There can be a sense of disconnect to ones who live outside the state of AZ and we carry a false sense of safety with that.

    January 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  36. Bob in Fla

    He could apologize for some of his inappropriate rhetoric of the past, and call on others to do the same. Try to help get the leaders and pundits to find civil ways to differ.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  37. Scott Stodden

    He Needs To Say How Sorry He Is That All This Had To Happen And He Needs To Encourage Elected Officals From Both Sides Of The Aisle To Put Politics Aside For The Sake Of The Victims Who Died And Then He Needs To Give A Lovely And Heart Felt Speech That Doesn't Have Anything To Do With Politics Just A Heart Felt And Loving Speech!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    January 11, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  38. Anthony from Swedesboro, NJ

    The president must implore our citizens to come together and conduct our affairs in a civil way respecting every man's right to express his/her opinion without infuriating those of a different mind. He would wisely avoid mention of such dividers as the birthers, tea party and militias.
    They all know who they are and must realize they now have blood on their hands. Palin must come out of the woods and apologize for her
    violent map of crosshairs. Politics is not a joke!

    January 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  39. Annie, Atlanta

    Nothing. How do you ease the pain for those who lost loved ones to senseless murder committed by someone who should never have been allowed anywhere near a gun?

    January 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  40. Ann from Charleston SC

    While the rhetoric definitely needs toning down, it seems that somewhere along the line the assumption was made that the derisive political scene was the reason for the tragedy. Has anyone verified that? Is there any proof? – or has our collective guilt caused us to project our unease onto this mentally unstable person? In the meantime, I'm all for the President addressing this issue, urging all Americans to listen to each other, to find common ground, to be more tolerant of our differences, and following up by setting the example himself.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  41. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    Unfortunately there isn't anything President Obama can say that will defuse the evil right wing attacks, both verbally and physically.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  42. Gigi Oregon

    I believe he'll do a better job of comforting Arizonians than you just did. We have a lot of family living there and fear for them. We really don't want to have OUR president criticized by the media Those of us who love the USA believe we should respect the President publicly and voice our trust in him at the ballot box. That is what should set us apart from the rest of the world. Many are blaming the media for such rhetoric that is feeding these unstable persons..

    January 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  43. Nancy, Tennessee

    The victim's memorials is not the correct stage for President Obama to try and bring a divided nation together. He should be silent and respectful of the victim's families time to mourn. This should be a private time.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  44. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    He can say that it is time to knock down the walls of absolute ideology. To stop all the ideological totalism that dictates that if you do not think like us, if you do not act like us, and if you do not speak like us you are not welcome. As these walls become higher and we become more isolated as groups the more despair is created.

    He can also say that we must stop this religion of hopelessness and build a city of mankind where all are welcome, no matter race, religion, sexual orientation, beliefs. It is when we come to understand that it is our differences that make us stronger will we all begin to create hope.

    But in the end, he and all of us must lead by our examples of compassion, gratitude, and love for all people.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  45. Jason

    The president can't tell any one that hates him or liberals anything. They won't listen. They've never listened. Let's talk about the new study that shows a genetic difference between the right and left, then talk about the divorce we both want.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  46. Maureen in California

    Obama can say, "I resign!" Since he's taken office, our country has been in turmoil with escalated crime and racism. He's the worst president in my life time, and I'm 58 years old!

    January 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  47. Alexi

    Jack –
    Words can heal people, but the pain will not go away for the victims. By President Obama speaking at the memorial, he can say that acts of violence like these will be not tolerated. Period. I wish President Obama the best of luck.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  48. Scott

    What can Obama say? Not much. It is how he acts afterwards – he needs to clean house of the same old names (Daly, et al) who are the problem and have been for years. A new beginning needs new people.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  49. antoinette

    The president should tell the country to stop this political nonsense and pause to mourn the death of these innocent people. I feel a sense of loss with this tragedy and it is painful to see how politics has gotten involved.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  50. Viv from NY

    I guess you had to dig hard to find that single remark Obama made when every day practically we hear hate speak from the right . What Obama should do in Tucson is say this is a another tragedy which had no reason. We all need to stop the hatred.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  51. Al

    Jack. It is with great sorrow that we must see the shooter as our
    son so to speak and he got thru our vain security.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  52. Susan from Idaho

    The innocent have not suffered and died in vain. This has to be the catalyst for gentler and kinder politics.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  53. Ed

    He should politics aside for a little while, it's all fun and games till someone gets hurt. Show that being human comes before politics.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  54. david guy

    so obama says,'if they bring a knife we'll bring a gun" and palin plays off it by using gun sights back at dems its suddenly all her fault this happens and obama gets no part of the blame?

    this guy had a vendetta against giffords going back 3 years way before we ever heard of palin so quit blaming her..

    what can obama say to ease the pain?? how about i resign

    January 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  55. Pamela

    Let us all remember that President Obama is attending the memorial service in Tucson tomorrow to provide comfort to the families of the victims. No matter what political views are churning in the background, these families and their care come first. I pray for all of them at this time.

    Colorado Springs, CO

    January 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  56. Allan Marty - Madison WI

    I don't know if he or anyone else can ease the pain of the families who lost their loved ones. If he moves the country toward more acceptance of those who are of differing opinions then maybe he can ease the pain of the country. We must all realize that our attitudes toward each other form the base of our country. If we harbor hate, greed and resentment toward others then our country is on shifting sand. If we share love and commitment to each other, regardless of individual beliefs, then the country is on solid ground.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  57. Gary in Pa

    President Obama should talk above any partisan issues if he wants to move this country along. Hopefully, he is learning from this experience, ridiculing the tea party or the Republican Party will not move us where we need to be going. I will give him the benefit of the doubt, give a unifying speech that he promised when he was campaigning or, continue with a divisive speech.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  58. Eric

    There is nothing the president can say to ease the pain, the state of Arizona has suffered imaginable tragedy. i live in Arizona and bottom line the democratic and Republicans need to come together.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  59. Susan from Racine, Wisconsin

    President Obama should speak to us in tones of peace, love, and hope. Jack, you said actions speak louder than words. He should tell the country that the best way to use this experience for good is to be an example to others – show others love and respect. LISTEN to each other and hear the sentiment and motivation behind the words. I'll bet the motivation across so many segments is the same – which is to help all of us live better lives. See each other as human beings, with all of us having the same struggles as everyone else. Don't look at each other as an "enemy" or as part of a political party. Just treat each other as we would treat a beloved friend or family member. It will spread.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  60. Matthew

    "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds.... to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves..."

    – Second Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln

    January 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  61. Ron, WA

    The President needs to say this tragedy was not about politics and to say otherwise is appalling if not criminal. People need to stop trying to capitalize in this horrible event to further their political agendas. Focus our energy of thoughts and prayers for the victims and their loved ones.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  62. Sasha, Manhattan


    I think the only thing the President can say is, "I as a parent will vow to be responsible for the actions of my children, and will hope that every other parent in the country will do the same." He should also say that as the President he can finally take charge of gun control in our nation. This to me seems to be the root cause of these horrible events. Which in turn also causes irresponsible behavior among people, namely parents and the easy access to guns they create for their kids. Stop the easy access for parents, and children won't know how to use a gun, even through adulthood.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  63. Edmund

    First off, the Barack Obama quote about bringing "a gun to a knife fight" was actually a quote from the film "The Untouchables." As for what the president should say, all he needs to do is reiterate what he has been saying. He was right about the issue from the beginning, the problem was just that he could not do the heavy lifting by himself. Bipartisanship in Washington has been his idea all along. Of all people, President Obama is the right man for this job and I am confident his leadership will be on good display tomorrow.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  64. Maureen in California

    To ease the pain of the entire country, obama can say, "I resign!" He's the worst president in my life time, and I'm 58 years old!! And, I sadly voted for him!!!

    January 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  65. jim metheny

    Their is nothing he can say that will ease the pain. He should stay in Washington and stay out of the way, his presence will do nothing but cause confusion,

    January 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  66. Debbie Meglen


    This is a travesty of monumental proportions. It is unfortunate that our egotistical commander-in-chief does not see this and just stay in Washington. These people are the victims of an unbalanced and sick individual, who took it upon himself to use a public forum to make good on threats, that should have been seen as warnings by those close to him. An innocent child of 9 lost her life, along with many others in this senseless tragedy. I think the President needs to stay home and allow the families to grieve in private in their hometown...instead of dragging his entourage and security detail (which none of the rest of us are privy too) into a sad moment for all. When our country was hit with 9/11...Bush paid the terrorists back by hunting them down...he never imposed his ego on those that mourned. B.O. stay home...we don't want your rhetoric anymore.

    F.V., CA.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  67. marrcus Mollenarro

    Hi Jack:
    President Obama can ease the pain by asking everyone to feel the pain.
    The pain must be felt. There is no other way.


    January 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  68. Ed

    Can we all get along?

    January 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  69. MaryAnn in IL

    Having lost a daughter, I know first hand that nothing anyone says can ease the pain or make sense of the circumstances. For quite some time after a sudden, senseless death we are in shock. It is when the shock wears off and we are daily confronted by the loss and the deceased persons belongs still in their home that the horrifying reality hits. The overwhelming support that is being given to all the families and the excellent care they are receiving will help on some level and being allowed to remember the loved ones and talking about them also help. Too often others don't want to upset the mourning family members so they don't talk about those who have died. From personal experience, I want to talk about them; I don't want them forgotten.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  70. frankie

    What can Obama say?? You said it all, Jack, when you said "actions speak louder than words". Obama has always had a way with words but words come easy for him. People should have learned that after he was elected President. Where was he when the people needed him during hard times in our country? We don't need his words anymore.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  71. Anne

    I don't think political statements of any kind should be made in Tuscon tomorrow. My hope is that he speaks about the loss of the loved ones, period.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  72. Regena

    The question is "Who will listen?" Let's face it – the level of hatred for Obama is so imbedded in the people who have been campaining against him BEFORE he even got in office. Until we can penetrate the hearts of those who CHOSE to hate Obama's speech will be looked upon with continued venom. The radio anchors who have been so successful convincing their audience to support their agenda of "I Hope He Fails" will be a tough "NUT" to crack.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  73. Ken in NC

    The President can say that he is going to work with both sides to insure that the deaths of these people will not have been in vain by encouraging everyone, himself included, to tone down their language and to work together for the good of the nation rather than either party.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  74. Al

    Jack. Obama has a difficult assignment showing our sorrow when
    the USA we love has such a tragic byproduct of our dear freedom

    January 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  75. Luci

    He can say how sorry he is and Pray with them. It is so hard to know what to say and do in that situation. I'm sure the family's understand too.
    As far as what the President said, it is nothing compared to what the tea party, Palin, Rush, Beck, etc. shouted for two years. You couldn't hear the speaker for them yelling and acting crazy.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  76. Dan Mahnke

    In the shadow of a tragedy that all feel sorrow for the families of those affected, we hear on the news how politicians will only deal with legislation that will protect them from the angry public. Again there is a sign of disconnect from the people of America. We are witnessing the self proclaimed importance of a group who is elected to serve the will of the public yet wants to be separated from them.
    “Welcome to our world”

    January 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  77. lisa chierchio

    No President Obama cannot ease the pain. He doesn't have warmth that Pres. Clinton has. Anyway what will it solve? Stricter gun control will put everyone at ease.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  78. George Miller

    Obama can say that to temper-down the hostility he will withdraw his social agenda. His ObamaCare, government spending of our money and attempt at illegal amnesty have enraged millions. Although violence is not the answer, it only takes one to cross the line and the policies of the left have increased the odds.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  79. John Martin in Shoreline, WA

    He can offer comforting words. But he can do nothing to change the divide in this nation. Democrats and Republicans have misled us to believe that politics in a free nation is about imposing your personal values upon your neighbor. Freedom simply can't exist under these circumstances.

    If Americans can learn to separate their personal opinions from their political opinions, we have a chance. But if politicians (and those who vote for them) continue to believe they have a right to tell their neighbor what they can eat, drink, smoke, say, watch, and how to raise their children...The American dream has already died.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  80. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    These politicans are worse than kids playing in a sand box. Obama needs to stress that We Are the United States of America. We ALL need to work together to make this a better place for ourselves,our children and for their children. Violence accomplishes NOTHING only Heartache. United We Stand divided is what happened in Tuscon.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  81. Tim Sirianni

    The president once again has inherited a tough one. I think the media has blown out of proportion Obama's use of the word enemy.There are just some politicians on both sides of the house that are not satisfied unless there is some kind of discord. As an onlooking Canadian even I can see that. those are the real enemys the president is refering to. As for what can the President say, What did LBJ say after that horrible day in November of 1963.


    January 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  82. Tim in Texas

    Since this terrible tragedy, I have heard politicians from both the left and the right speak out about what a kind and thoughtful person Gabby Giffords is. The same was true after Teddy Kennedy passed away. One wonders what would happen if politicians took the time to make such statements before such events take place – rather than so often only afterwards. Most of us out here, I think, would respect our politicians much more. I don't always agree with you, Jack, but you seem like a nice guy – even if you are a little curmudgeonly. See, it's not so hard to do.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  83. Dan Mahnke

    Arizona who was a stain on America a couple of months ago is now looked upon to lead the way to stop protesting at funerals. Was this not worth the discussion when American solders were being protested after dying for their service to the countries bidding. It was only worth the Supreme Court to review but now that a politician has been attacked it’s worth a new law as long as its for the politicians.

    Together this entire event is sickening to see the tragedy alone and then to see another move for politicians to take advantage of.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  84. Michel Beliveau

    Actions do speak louder than words Jack, and that's why the president should call on politicions to take the lead on changing the political discourse in America. Is is purely co-incidental that the second news item of yesterday was the sentencing of Former Republican Speaker DeLay on charges of fraud and improper use of campaign funds? With congress' all time low favorable opinion rating and the never ending episodes of impropriety which occur weekly in American government, it's no wonder that Americans have had it with politicians in general. It seems that the group with the least morals has the most power in America, so Obama should suggest that the Republicans and the Democrats lead the charge to a higher moral ground, one in which we can disagree without hating each other and hoping for the failure of the other so that they may regain power. P.S. Start with the politicians and their spokespersons who are hears and seen on right wing media outlets.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  85. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    2007 Pakistan Prime Min. Benazir Bhutto was assassinated and several killed, Pres. George W. Bush stated "this is a cowardly act by murderous extremist". The Pakistan government later "watered down" her death saying she was killed on impact by the knob of the sun roof. Pres. Obama shouldn't be swayed by public opinion to water down what happened in Tucson to be that of a mentally unstable person knowing our political atmosphere is unstable and toxic. It's time for President Obama to take a page out of former President George W. Bush's cowboy mentality playbook.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  86. brian seward

    Speechwriters tell the President what to say Too bad they were quiet when the Muslim Major shot all the folks at an army base. So anything he says will be rejected by both sides

    January 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  87. Karl in Mich

    It's time to take a realistic look at were we have come as a nation regarding anger and hate in the politics of our nation. The President needs to call on all of us to be mindful that what we say can be a catalyst to some to repeat the tragedy in Tucson. Hearing anyone in the leadership of our government, in particular, make any reference to weaponry or personal physical retribution for any reason is unacceptable. In like manner, if someone does make comments of this type, it is incumbent on the media to not relay it, but censor their reporting so as to not add fuel to any fires. We all have to be part of the solution and not the problem.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  88. Roger C.

    I don't believe he can say much of anything that will impact the present state of the nation’s political divide. How can he when there are people despite evidence to the contrary that continue to believe he’s a Muslim and not an American citizen? Unfortunately I believe it’s going to take something far worse than what happened in Tucson to move people towards real kiss and make up dialogue and that makes me sick in my guts.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  89. Jim Blevins

    Politics are important and people are reasonably very concerned about what our government does. But it is important to remember that our non-violent, democratic government is much more important that differences within it. Our government, run by the Republicans (from a Democratic perspective) is much better than the government of any other country. We must retain the non-violent nature of our government regardless of any differences within it.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    January 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  90. Kim Smith

    Too late for much of anything to be said. In two weeks time, things will be back to usual as far as the inflamatory rhetoric goes.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  91. Mark

    He should tell the American citizenry that this country is full of lunatics who are dangerous and it is up to individuals to take whatever measures necessary to protect themselves and that the anti-gun lobby is looking to get good people UNARMED so that only criminals will have guns. Idiots. The time for political correctness is OVER!

    January 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  92. Al

    Jack. The president has already spoken. He should try to provide
    the answers that Tucson,Arizona and our nation needs to reduce
    the turmoil

    January 11, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  93. lynnej in north carolina

    It is those that screamed 'death panels', Nazi, 'he's not born here,' etc. that need to speak to the victims and their families. What could they say is beyond me. I lay the atmosphere that spawned this tragedy at their feet.

    President Obama doesn't have to say a thing. His being there is enough. Just like President Johnson did when the hurricane hit New Orleans in the late 60s. "I am your President. I am here."

    January 11, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  94. Jeannette, Canada

    President Obama, can only give sympathy and strength, to those who are willing to receive it. But, trying to resolve any/al issues that besieges those like the shooter, is just a waste of time for him. Enough of talking; all sides of the political and public arena, needs to readdress their own personal views and actions. They have to change inside themselves, FIRST ! But, with all the negative rhetoric that is spread in America: "What chance is there for a change?

    Our deepest sympathy for those innocent victims and their families; who have to now live with their losses.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  95. Bob

    president Obama needs to memorialize the victims and their families and recognize the citizens that came forward to help others under a hail of bullets. He must also make a committment to the country as a whole that government at all levels needs to listen to the people and act accordingly. We no longer have "government of the people, by the people, for the people"..,it has perished.

    Lincoln, without speach writers or aides, was able to define what our government was while memorializing the fallen in 10 sentences in his Gettysburg Address. It lead to the healing of the nation. We need this committment and leadership from Obama.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  96. Frank - Ft Worth, TX

    Jack – Nothing can be said to ease the pain of losing friends and loved ones to senseless acts like this. What AZ HAS to do is get a clue that SOME form of Gov't regulation has to be in place in hopes of curtailing chances of these tragedies happening:

    Case and point: Take away all gun restrictions, ANYONE can obtain ANY weapon. ). Take away medical insurance, EVERYONE will die prematurely. etc.

    I am sure Gov Brewer will keep her same postion if she had a personal stake in the current state of affairs.......then again maybe not!

    January 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  97. Mark from Boston


    Obama can continue to remain objective and proactive as he has been since this tragedy. But, of course he will never get credit from the 'right' for trying to diffuse the partisan tensions. Nevertheless, he needs to let the families of the victims know the vast majority of americas support them.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  98. Jim


    It won't be easy. But the President has some terrific speech writers so maybe they can come up with something uplifting. Re-watching Reagan's speech after the Challenger explosion wouldn't be a bad idea. If they could just find words to convince us that these innocents didn't die in vain, that out of this tragedy will come more cordial discourse and gun laws that actually keep weapons of mass murder out of the hands of loonies. That's a hard sell though. Past history isn't too promising.

    Reno, Nevada

    January 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  99. Gary H. Boyd

    In simple terms, not a damn thing Jack. The guy promised to raise the discourse in Washington while running for President and hasn't accomplished anything in that regard. In fact, if anything, the discourse has lowered the discourse. The only thing missing in Congress these days are pie fights. What a joke. The guy's just taking a few days off to fly west.

    Boyd in Scottsdale, Arizona

    January 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  100. Alvin

    All he should say is." So this is the country we live in and I accept, on behalf of all politicians in congress, the responsibility of our weaknesses that are displayed on a daily basis. I also reconize that the constitution and the bill of rights afford us the ability to bare arms and the honor of free speech. However, it is my duty to make sure our laws are enforced and in doing so I will prop up the congresses knowledge of these laws and ask them to tone down there aggressive finger pointing as this may have contributed to the violent outcry of many americans." Then he must continue to lead without changing the constitution.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  101. D/St Louis

    The President can say; the media matters and words have power, everyone should choose their words wisely.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  102. Kalan, Oro Valley, AZ

    The past few days have been a barrage of extraneous emotion and political rhetoric. Life can change instantaneously. Hate, indifference, ignorance have no place in our society. I’m proud to see how we have all came together in support. I just hope we remain steadfast with this global unity of the human condition after this tragedy is behind us.

    January 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm |