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A Twitter Analysis: 'This tragedy shouldn't be politicized' A Twitter Analysis: 'This tragedy shouldn't be politicized'

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White House / WHITE HOUSE

A Twitter Analysis: 'This tragedy shouldn't be politicized'

In short gulps, a newsman uses Twitter to convey Obama's speech - and its meaning

January 12, 2011

EDITOR'S NOTE: Ron Fournier, National Journal Editor-in-Chief, tweeted an analysis of President Obama's Tucson speech in real time. Here it is, minute by minute:

--Advanced text is pretty potent. I'm going to try to tweet an analysis.

--Like past presidents in tragic times, Obama looks to heal nation from a calm center.

--Don’t use tragedy “as one more occasion to turn on one another,” he tells nationwide audience from Arizona, site of Saturday's mass killing

--In one of the biggest speeches of his presidency, Obama urges an aching country to look forward, not backward.

--“Bad things happen," the president says, "and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.”

--He is not the first U.S. president faced with such a heavy responsibility and opportunity.

--Lincoln, FDR, LBJ ... Most recently, Bush after 9/11 and Clinton after OklaCity bombing united nation and improved their political standing

--Still, Obama said this tragedy shouldn't be politicized, even as the country examines what went wrong

--Obama called the debate over mental health, guns and other potential causes “an essential ingredient in our exercise of self-government.”

--But says of the post-mortem debate: “Let’s make sure it’s not on the usual plane of politics and point-scoring and pettiness ..." of DC

--Rather than recrimination and polarization, Obama says Americans should “expand our moral imaginations" to solve problems.

--The emotional high point of the speech was when Obama announced that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords opened her eyes for the first time today.

--As the crowd cheered, Michelle Obama hugged the congresswoman's husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, gripping his hand tightly.

--He read a roll call of victims and heroes, telling their stories.

--It was an effective way to bring the tragedy to life and to help the professorial president connect with Americans at a gut-level.

--He used the word “hope” (or a variation) 8 times. Not just part of Obama's 2008 campaign, Hope is a key ingredient of the American story.

--History shows that unsettled times like these tend to yield political violence and assassination. No killer is an island, no matter how nuts.

--Unfortunately, the “quintessential American scene” referenced by Obama includes a long line of politically-minded killers:

--Booth, Guiteau, Czolgosz, Schrank, Ray, Sirhan. But Obama chose not to dwell on them, or their ilk.

--He focused on the victims, their families and their memories. Like 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, born on 9/11

--"In Christina," he said, "we see all of our children." Children who deserve our love. Who deserve the best in their leaders

--... Children, he said, "so deserving of our good example." -30-

Ron Fournier can be reached at rfournier@nationaljournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ron_Fournier.

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