There’s no indication that Obama will do that. First of all, the fact of suspect James Holmes’s firearms purchases are not yet publicly known. He apparently had no criminal record, and therefore no obvious flags would have been raised to prevent legal firearms purchases. Until all the facts are known, Obama won’t jump to risky political conclusions or take any conspicuous risks where access to firearms is concerned.
He didn’t after Giffords was shot, and every national Democrat since Al Gore, who toyed with gun-control advocacy in 2000, has internalized the risks of alienating those who either posses firearms or sympathize solidly with those who do.
As far as dealing with national emotions, Obama knows he has a few days before the memorial service is held. It is virtually certain that Obama will be invited and will attend. Obama’s a close, personal friend of Gov. John Hickenlooper, the former mayor of Denver who played host to Obama’s 2008 nominating convention and can be sure to help Obama navigate the jagged psychic cliffs of the Rocky Mountain state in the coming days.
Obama’s top speech writer, Jon Favreau, was coincidentally with the president in Florida. He doesn’t make all or even most of the campaign trips. They fashioned Obama’s remarks together on Friday and will surely combine on his next statement and the speech at the memorial. Together, the two have crafted all of Obama’s most important speeches. This will fall into that category, for all the most awful reasons.
The president began to frame what may become his overarching rhetorical theme in the aftermath of Aurora. In Fort Myers he said among the most important lessons to draw from the mayhem, death, and despair is this: “What matters at the end of the day is not the small things; it’s not the trivial things, which so often consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately, it’s how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another. “
There are those among Obama’s political opponents who believe of late that his reelection campaign has been about “small things,” such as Romney’s run as head of the private-equity firm Bain Capital, the number of tax returns Romney has produced, the purpose of a Swiss bank account or Bermuda corporation. Obama’s team thinks just the opposite--that each is a window into Romney’s character and economic priorities and instincts.
If, in fact, Aurora can and should teach the nation to ignore “small” and “trivial things,” perhaps a subplot for both campaigns going forward will be their ability to speak more grandly and persuasively--not just about healing in the face of hot bullet casings cascading in a suburban movie theater, but the direction of this nation as a whole.