Obama Acknowledges Congress’ Role in Fort Hood Investigations

Posted November 14, 2009 at 5:00am

President Barack Obama on Saturday promised an intensive investigation into the events leading up to the Fort Hood massacre, saying that both the shooter and the authorities’ failure to recognize his threat will be scrutinized.

“We must compile every piece of information that was known about the gunman, and we must learn what was done with that information,— Obama said in his weekly radio address. “Once we have those facts, we must act upon them. If there was a failure to take appropriate action before the shootings, there must be accountability.—

Obama acquiesced to the prospect of Congressional investigations, but he warned lawmakers not to turn them into political shows.

“I know there will also be inquiries by Congress, and there should,— Obama said. “But all of us should resist the temptation to turn this tragic event into the political theater that sometimes dominates the discussion here in Washington. The stakes are far too high.—

Obama suggested he has concerns with the contacts of the gunman, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who reportedly was in touch with Islamic extremists.

“[The] investigation will look at the motives of the alleged gunman, including his views and contacts,— he said. “Given the potential warning signs that may have been known prior these shootings, we must uncover what steps — if any — could have been taken to avert this tragedy.—

In the GOP weekly address, Rep. Mark Kirk, a Senate candidate in Illinois, delivered the Republican case against the House-passed health care bill.

“In the teeth of the Great Recession, the Pelosi bill would impose 10 new taxes on the American economy,— Kirk said. “The top combined tax rate for my state of Illinois would be four percentage points higher than France.—

Kirk said the House should instead pass legislation that includes tort reform to help defray costs for doctors. “Lawsuit reforms can save billions in health care costs alone,— Kirk said.

He also advocated allowing people to purchase coverage across state lines. “Congress should grant the right to each American to buy coverage from any state in the union, especially if you find a plan that has a lower cost or is more flexible for your family or your small business,— he said.

Kirk repeated the charge by Republicans that the Democratic plan would amount to a “government takeover— of health care.