Obama speaks at Newtown service - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Obama speaks at Newtown service

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NEWTOWN, CT -

President Barack Obama is vowing to use "whatever power" he has to prevent shootings like the Connecticut school massacre.  Speaking at a memorial service in the town where the shootings took place, Obama asked, "What choice do we have?"

He said the nation can't simply say that this type of violence against children "is somehow the price of our freedom." And he said Americans can't decide they are "powerless in the face of such carnage," or that "the politics are too hard."

He said, "Sure we can do better than this. We have an obligation to try." Near the top of his remarks, Obama read the names of the six adults who died. He finished by reading the first names of the 20 children who were killed.

Cries and sobs filled the room as he read those names.

One man who attended the interfaith memorial with his son, a fourth-grader who survived the shooting unharmed, said, "That's when it really hit home."

Children at the service held stuffed teddy bears and dogs. Some sat on their parents' laps.

Before the event in Newtown, the president met privately with families of the victims and with the emergency personnel who responded to the shootings.

Earlier

President Barack Obama has arrived in Newtown, Conn., to console families, thank first responders and speak at a vigil in memory of the 26 teachers and schoolchildren killed during a shooting spree at an elementary school Friday.

This is the fourth trip of Obama's presidency to a grieving city in the aftermath of a mass shooting.

In his remarks, Obama will be addressing not only the residents of Newtown, but also a stunned nation. A White House official said Obama is the primary author of his speech and edited his remarks on the flight to Connecticut with White House speechwriter Cody Keenan.

Keenan helped Obama write his speech last year following the shootings in Tucson, Ariz., that killed six and wounded 13, including Rep. Gabby Giffords.

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