Politics Takes A Break In Wake Of Colorado Tragedy
The tragedy in Aurora, Colorado has led to something of a pause in the political world that seems likely to last the weekend:
FORT MYERS, Fla. — President Barack Obama on Friday called the Colorado movie theater shooting “senseless” and said his administration “stands ready to do whatever is necessary to bring whoever is responsible for this heinous crime to justice.”
“We may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this,” he said. “Such violence, such evil, is senseless. It’s beyond reason.”
The shooting, which killed 12 people and injured many more, upended and paused a presidential campaign fought over small issues. Both Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney halted their negative TV advertising in Colorado. Obama did not attack Romney during his remarks, and Romney will not “contrast” his platform with Obama’s when he speaks Friday afternoon, an aide said.
Obama also cancelled a campaign rally planned for Friday afternoon in Winter Park, Fla. He will instead return to the White House to monitor the Colorado situation, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
“There are going to be other days for politics,” Obama said. “But this, I think, is a day for prayer and reflection.”
Addressing a crowd of about 2,000 people who came expecting a campaign rally, Obama spoke through awkward hoots and cheers during his remarks. The president delivered a subdued seven-minute address that sought to remind the nation of the importance of larger things — friends, family and life.
The Romney campaign is similarly taking a subdued tone. Romney’s one event in New Hampshire today, likely the last one before he heads to Europe, will be non-political and likely short. Additionally both campaigns have pulled their ads from Colorado for the time being, as has Priorities USA, the pro-Obama SuperPac run by former Obama aide Bill Burton. Any other groups running ads are likely to follow. This is the traditional political response to events like this, and it seems rather appropriate under the circumstances. With the public fed up already with negative campaigning and politics, the campaigns would likely only hurt themselves by engaging in crass politics at a time like this.