Obama calls for day of prayer, reflection after shooting

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DENVER — President Barack Obama called for a day of prayer and reflection following the overnight shooting at an Aurora movie theater during short remarks at what was supposed to have been a campaign appearance in Ft. Myers, Florida.

“This morning we woke up to a news of a tragedy that reminds us to all the ways we are united as one American family,” Obama said in Florida. “What matters at the end of the day is not the small things. It is not the trivial things which so often consume us in our
daily lives.”

Obama’s campaign also cancelled a second scheduled campaign event that was to take place later Friday in Orlando. His remarks in Ft. Myers lasted less than 10 minutes and culminated with a moment of silence.

“I’m moved by your support,” Obama told supporters. “But there will be other days for politics. This I think should be a day for prayer and reflection.”

Obama’s campaign also asked TV stations across the country to pull down all campaign ads; Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign is reportedly doing the same.

Campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters in Florida that the shooting in Aurora “changed the nature of his remarks this morning as well as the events of the day.

“He feels this is the appropriate step on that front, and today we are focused on remembering the victims and finding out what happened.”

Earlier Friday morning, the White House released a statement from the president.

“Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time,” the president’s statement read.

“We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.”

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also released a statement.

“Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took the lives of 15 people in Colorado and injured dozens more,” Romney’s statement read. “We are 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.”

Congressman Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden, who represents Aurora as part of the 7th C.D., also released a statement Friday morning.

“I am stunned and furious at the news of the shooting at the Aurora Century 16 Movie theatre this morning,” Perlmutter said. “Our heart and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims of this tragedy. Colorado is not a violent place, but we have some violent people. We are a strong and resilient community, and we will lean on each other in the days, weeks and months to come.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper released a statement just after 8 a.m.

“This is not only an act of extreme violence, it is also an act of depravity,” Hickenlooper said. “It is beyond the power of words to fully express our sorrow this morning. Our prayers and condolences go first to the families of those killed, and we share the grief of everyone affected by this senseless event. We appreciate the swift work by local, state and federal law enforcement.

“Coloradans have a remarkable ability to support one another in times of crisis. This one of those times.”

Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, D-El Dorado Springs, followed suit with a statement.

“I am deeply saddened and outraged by these senseless and tragic shootings,” Udall said. “My thoughts go out to the families and friends of those killed, and I am praying for a speedy recovery for those who were wounded. My staff and I are in close contact with officials on the ground and will offer any federal resources needed to investigate this terrible crime and bring those responsible to justice.”

Congresswoman Diana DeGette, D-Denver, also issued the following statement:

“This morning, our Colorado community has been shaken by an inexplicable and horrific act of violence against so many innocent men, women, and children,” DeGette said. “We are all profoundly saddened by this senseless attack. My family and I join with all Coloradoans and those across the country today in praying for the victims and their families and loved ones.

“While we do not yet know the identities of the victims, in the coming days and weeks I know that all of us in the Denver-area will offer our support and assistance to those impacted by this shocking tragedy.”

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