Republicans and Democrats today toned down the politicking after the early morning massacre at a showing of the new Batman movie in Aurora, Colo., canceling events and offering condolences.
And while a few politicians, notably New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, jumped ahead to the inevitable topic of gun control, most stuck to a nonpartisan line of grief after 12 people were reported killed and dozens more wounded.
President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) separately issued calls for the nation to come together as one family after the tragedy.
“Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado,” the president said, pledging to support the people of Aurora. “As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family.”
Obama later made brief remarks at a campaign rally in Fort Myers, Fla., that was cut short.
“If there’s anything to take away from this tragedy, it’s a reminder that life is fragile. Our time here is precious,” Obama said.
Obama said politics can wait.
“There are going to be other days for politics,” he said. “This I think is a day for prayer and reflection.”
Boehner put out his statement not long after Obama released his prepared remarks. “Confronted with incomprehensible evil, Americans pull together and embrace our national family more tightly,” he said. “I join President Obama, and every American, in sending my thoughts and prayers to the victims of this awful tragedy. We will all stand with them, as one nation, in the days ahead.”
Obama cut short a planned campaign swing in Florida to fly back to the White House, and the president and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney were to address the tragedy separately in midday remarks.
The Romney campaign also said Ann Romney’s campaign events would be canceled today and that the campaign was suspending its ads in Colorado for the time being.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also canceled a press conference he had planned for today, and other lawmakers pulled back from the political fence after the shooting.
Bloomberg, meanwhile, said Obama and Romney should say what they are going to do to deal with gun violence.
“You know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country,” he said in a radio interview this morning.
Obama has repeatedly avoided making a push for gun control legislation, including attempts to reinstate an assault weapons ban.