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You are watching: Did obama go to sandy hook

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On the job of the fixed shooting in ~ Sandy Hook elementary school school, the president grieved like any father would.

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On December 14, 2012, in the quiet neighborhood of Newtown, Connecticut, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot his mother, then drove to Sandy Hook primary school school, whereby he gunned under 26 people, 20 of castle 6- and 7-year-old children. Favor many about the country, president Obama had actually a visceral an answer to the massacre; the job is widely acknowledged by the president and also his inner circle together the worst of his eight year in office.


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The president reacts as Homeland defense Advisor man Brennan briefs the on the details that the shootings in ~ Sandy Hook elementary college in Newtown, Connecticut. / Credit: official White home Photo by Pete Souza
Cody KeenanDeputy manager of speechwriting, 2009-2013; manager of speechwriting, 2013-2017

started like any kind of other. It was a Friday and we got an email from the instance Room saying there a feasible school shooting. And then cable news began to cover it and much more information came in, much more rumors.

David Plouffe2008 campaign manager; an elderly advisor, 2011-2014

There were vacation parties walk on and people over at the White house residence area partying and also having a pretty time and you’re obtaining this destructive information.

Valerie JarrettSenior torture to the president and director of the office of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs, 2009-2017

I remained in the Oval Office when the president discovered out that 20 children and six adults had died. And I psychic asking, could you repeat the number? because I couldn"t absorb 20 children. Then I discovered out they to be 6 and also 7 years of age. That was nearly as if i couldn"t take it it in.

Cody KeenanDeputy director of speechwriting, 2009-2013; director of speechwriting, 2013-2017

At the time, Jon Favreau and also I common an office in the West Wing. The president had just been reelected so he was functioning on the Inaugural Address. There to be fiscal cliffs and tax standoffs and all kinds of partisan stuff the suddenly seemed really small. So we quickly banged out a explain together and also took it as much as the Oval Office.


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president Obama wipes away tears while addressing White residence reporters complying with the elementary school mass shoot in Newtown, top top December 14, 2012. / Credit: Alex Wong/Getty pictures
Jon FavreauDirector that speechwriting, 2009-2013

The president dubbed me up to obtain the edits and also when ns walked into the Oval, the didn"t even look up at me due to the fact that he to be so upset. That was more than likely the many upset I"d viewed him.

Cody KeenanDeputy manager of speechwriting, 2009-2013; manager of speechwriting, 2013-2017

He crossed out a pair of paragraphs the he said were too raw. He had actually tears in his eyes. And he said, “I don"t know if I"ll have the ability to get with this.”

A memorial company was booked for Sunday, December 16, and also as the job approached, the president’s speech writers struggled with exactly how to verbalize the unspeakable.


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president Obama functions on his Newtown decided on December 16, 2012, during a break in rehearsals because that his daughter Sasha’s run recital. / Credit: main White home Photo by Pete Souza
Cody KeenanDeputy director of speechwriting, 2009-2013; manager of speechwriting, 2013-2017

I discovered out ns had about 48 hrs to turn roughly the eulogy. And around 3 am that night I began crying due to the fact that how carry out you eulogize 20 6-year-old children?

Jon FavreauDirector that speechwriting, 2009-2013

When the shooting in Aurora happened, the president and I were in Florida for an event and that said, “You don’t have youngsters yet, yet there’s a saying, ‘Having kids is favor walking approximately with your heart exterior your chest.’ ” i remembered the moment and we used that in his Sandy Hook remarks.

Valerie JarrettSenior advisor to the president and also director that the office of public engagement and also intergovernmental affairs, 2009-2017

Just 2 days later, the president visited Newtown. It was a rainy day so he couldn’t take a helicopter. We had actually to drive for one hour and also 10 minutes. I remember that prefer it was yesterday. In the car, he looked in ~ his remarks and also he turned castle over and he said, “That’s not what I want to say,” and also he pulled out a yellow pad of file and he began to write.

Barack ObamaPresident of the united States, 2009-2017

I knew one thing I necessary to carry out was to name the children, to acknowledge them and make certain that civilization understood that this wasn’t one abstraction, the these to be as with Malia or Sasha or anyone else’s kids that would certainly hug you and also be tucked in at night and read stories to. The notion that we as a culture couldn’t safeguard them, not from a herbal disaster but from something choose this…


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chairman Obama attends a Sandy Hook interfaith vigil in ~ Newtown High School. / Credit: official White house Photo by Pete Souza
Credit: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty pictures
Valerie JarrettSenior torture to the president and also director of the office of public engagement and also intergovernmental affairs, 2009-2017

I psychic being aware of my breathing due to the fact that I didn"t desire to execute anything come disturb him. And he created solidly for an hour and 10 minutes straight. Once we got out the the automobile he handed his remarks to among his aides and…delivered one of the most an effective speeches I"ve heard the give.

Joshua DuBoisSpecial assistant to the president; executive, management director the the White residence Office of faith-based and neighborhood partnerships, 2009-2013

President Obama gained there and also a few of us went under to brief him. That was plainly emotional and devastated through what had actually happened, yet he knew that as the chairman of the United claims it was his duty to be over there for civilization in your time of need. For this reason we type of walked through the family members that he would certainly see. He simply dove in and also just gave every oz of what he can give come these civilization who to be going with this unimaginable loss.

Cody KeenanDeputy director of speechwriting, 2009-2013; manager of speechwriting, 2013-2017

He spent a couple hours meeting through all the families and also a lot of of kids who were also young to fully understand what had happened other than the their brother and also sister were gone.

Valerie JarrettSenior torture to the president and also director the the office of public engagement and also intergovernmental affairs, 2009-2017

He spent as lot time together they wanted, through him, and they proved him photographs of your loved ones and also told their stories about their children. That was yes, really the consoler in chief that day.

David Plouffe2008 campaign manager; senior advisor, 2011-2014

Most the the families carried their vacation card, therefore they could show the president your deceased boy or daughter.

Joshua DuBoisSpecial assistant come the president; executive director the the White house Office of faith-Based and also neighborhood partnerships, 2009-2013

I remember the sheer number of people affected. You had all of those students and also teachers that were lost, but each among them had actually multiple family members that were straight impacted. Three, four, five, few of them had 10 or 15 human being there...And every solitary one, the president greeted. That would lug them in for a big hug. He’d placed his hand on your shoulder and also look "em in their eyes. Some of the younger siblings that were simply too young to know what was going on, he’d shot to acquire them come laugh a tiny bit or hand castle a crate of White house M&Ms native his pocket. just gave everything he can in the time.


two days after ~ the shootings in ~ Newtown, the president traveled to Connecticut to fulfill with the victims" families. The chairman spent hours greeting family members members, consisting of the siblings and also cousins of Emilie Parker, one of the 20 children who died. / Credit: main White home Photo by Pete Souza
Barack ObamaPresident that the unified States, 2009-2017

That’s no the only time I’ve had actually to comfort households who’ve shed loved ones. Unfortunately it’s occurred too often. But these were 6-year-olds and also it wasn’t just the parents however in many cases you had actually siblings who were 10, 8 who had actually learned that their younger brother or sister had actually been killed. It’s the only time I ever before saw secret Service cry at an event. It was brutal.

Valerie JarrettSenior torture to the president and also director the the office of windy engagement and intergovernmental affairs, 2009-2017

I to be sitting next to a man during the service and also he didn"t have actually anyone v him and he began to cry and I reached throughout to host his hand. The didn’t recognize me. I was a complete stranger yet I was desperate to it is in able to carry out comfort in ~ a time once there was no possible means to carry out comfort.

Arne DuncanU.S. Secretary the education, 2009-2015

That to be the first time I ever saw the president cry. At the finish of the day, he’s a dad, a father. When he speak at Newtown, he said, an extremely famously, “By any type of measure, we space failing this children”.


A police officer wipes her eys together she gathers flowers left for the Sandy Hook elementary institution victims. / Credit: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty images
Eric HolderU.S. Attorney general, 2009-2015

I saw Sandy Hook about four or five days after ~ the shoot to give thanks to some first responders. In among the classrooms, there were these tiny posters kids had placed up that said, What I desire to attain this Year—I desire to learn exactly how to spell, I want to learn exactly how to read, I desire to learn how to execute math. This to be the ar where these children had been gunned down. There to be tufts of carpet type of traction up, and also I asked among the crime scene find officers and he said, “That’s where the bullets hit.” and as i walked out, ns was thanking the crime scene search officers and the very first responders…and these grizzled 20, 30-year veterans were crying. And I thought, boy, this is lastly going to relocate this country.

though U.S. Public opinion had actually been reasonably evenly split for years in between those who advocated for gun control and also those who favored the civil liberties of total owners, after the Sandy Hook shooting, there was a shift: A Pew Research center poll bring away a main after Newtown found that 49 percent of american favored restricting gun property while just 42 percent were an ext concerned v gun owners’ rights.


president Obama talks around the victim of the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting and about his efforts to boost federal pistol control, on January 5, 2016 / Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty pictures
Cody KeenanDeputy director of speechwriting, 2009-2013; manager of speechwriting, 2013-2017

The president hadn"t even been re-inaugurated, but he decided to usage his political capital right after ~ reelection to try to do something about guns.

David Plouffe2008 campaign manager; an elderly advisor, 2011-2014

He was constantly a strong supporter of total control, yet really intensified his belief that we required to once again march up the hill and shot and perform something.

Eric HolderU.S. Lawyer general, 2009-2015

We plotted ours strategy, and also made the determination that the vice president and also I would lead the effort together with Janet Napolitano to try to yes, really come increase with usual sense gun safety proposals.


president Barack Obama speak with household members of victim of the Sandy Hook elementary institution shootings board Air force One, on April 8, 2013. / Credit: main White house Photo through Pete Souza
Cody KeenanDeputy director of speechwriting, 2009-2013; manager of speechwriting, 2013-2017

In those first couple months, we trying to execute something around guns along with the angry president and also the families of Newtown who found courage fast. One couple, Francine and David Wheeler, videotaped the Weekly address in lieu that the president and also it was simply one the the most painful things I can possibly imagine.

Eric HolderU.S. Attorney general, 2009-2015

I think the president is normally a cool person, unflappable. Yet he’s not a human being without emotion and also he was as affected by Sandy Hook as I was. It to be something that wore him under over time and also took off that level the calm and reserve. You can see exactly how he was really feeling around this issue and how dear he feeling a need for change.

top top April 17, 2013, a bipartisan measure the would have required expanded background checks for would-be pistol owners and also banned the sale of some military-type semi-automatic weapons failed to happen the then-Democratically-controlled Senate, in a 54 to 46 vote.


The chairman hugs Sue Connors and Jane Dougherty following his remarks at the Denver Police Academy. The women lost their sister, mary Sherlach, in the Sandy Hook elementary institution shootings. / Credit: main White home Photo by Pete Souza
David Plouffe2008 project manager; senior advisor, 2011-2014

When gun control failed, that was a very personal issue because that the president. He had gained close to countless of the victims’ families. If Washington might agree on nothing else, it seemed as if doing something in the aftermath of Newtown, like immediate background checks, must be possible.

Barack ObamaPresident of the unified States, 2009-2017

An overwhelming majority of american felt the things prefer background checks…might conserve a couple of lives; that if a mad male walks into a college intent on doing harm, fewer youngsters might dice if he doesn’t have a semi-automatic weapon through magazines that have the right to just provide a stunning lot of bullets in a quick span of time. The reality that we couldn’t even get miscellaneous as an easy as that v the Senate was heartbreaking.

David Plouffe2008 campaign manager; an elderly advisor, 2011-2014

So why didn’t the work? The NRA is more than likely the most effective, single-issue advocacy company in the world. They to be able come convince enough Republicans that they would shed in the primaries if they sustained it.

Valerie JarrettSenior torture to the president and director the the office of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs, 2009-2017

One that his biggest disappointments…was Congress’ unwillingness to hear not just to the president yet to 90 percent that the American world who thought what we were do the efforts to carry out made sense.

David Plouffe2008 campaign manager; an elderly advisor, 2011-2014

This isn’t a case where you might say, if only we had done X, Y, or Z differently, we would’ve happen something. It just wasn’t going to happen. And also I don’t know what it’s going come take due to the fact that hopefully we’re not going come have one more incident as bad as what occurred in Newtown.

Cody KeenanDeputy director of speechwriting, 2009-2013; manager of speechwriting, 2013-2017

I"ve checked out the president genuinely angry twice. As soon as was as soon as he found out healthcare.gov wasn"t working. The other was as soon as background checks failed in the Senate. And I median angry, choose deeply, deeply disturbed by it. I think he provided the word disgusted.

Eric HolderU.S. Lawyer general, 2009-2015

After Sandy Hook, after this 6-year-olds had actually been killed, these small angels, you’d think that would definitely be something the would relocate the nation. absolutely didn’t walk as much as I believed we required to go, but it seemed choose a reasonable very first step. And also to see also that get shot down, that was extremely disheartening.




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chairman Obama and Michelle Obama irradiate 26 candles honoring the students and teachers killed at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, ~ above the one-year anniversary that the shooting. / Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty pictures
David Plouffe2008 project manager; an elderly advisor, 2011-2014

At the finish of the day, the factor we didn’t make development on gun safety wasn’t because of substance. The was due to the fact that of life politics and money and also influence.

Eric Holder

How lot do we have to endure as a nation before we carry out that which we are qualified of doing?

Arne DuncanU.S. Secretary the education, 2009-2015

It sound harsh, this doesn’t occur in other nations. Other nations make public plan choices around guns, and common feeling gun control. My wife is from Australia. This doesn’t occur in Australia, it doesn’t occur in England, that doesn’t take place in Japan or Canada. And also the reality that…we permitted this to happen, this devastation to families and communities…and enable parents to ask their kids, it’s devastating.

Jon FavreauDirector the speechwriting, 2009-2013

For all the president’s idealism, he’s clean eyed about the congress he has and the political setting he’s in. And he pushes really hard to make progress where the can but he to know that have the right to only go so far.

Arne DuncanU.S. Secretary that education, 2009-2015

I provide us close come an F on pistol control. Have actually we fundamentally made the nation safer? we absolutely failure there.

Barack ObamaPresident the the unified States, 2009-2017

It’s probably the closest I’ve involved being pessimistic during the course of my presidency…when we saw that we couldn’t get the system to move in a smarter direction. Yet we’ve continued to be at it.

Jon FavreauDirector that speechwriting, 2009-2013

He’ll save fighting because that gun safety and he’ll do it lengthy after he leaves office. However he’ll try to uncover other ways roughly it.

Eric HolderU.S. Attorney general, 2009-2015

Frankly, if the American world had the ability to take that tour v me on the day, even the total lobby would not have actually been maybe to stop reform.