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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Ron_Fournier.
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