Helene Cooper (New York Times): President Obama is not known for showing a surplus of emotion in public, but toward the end of his speech at the University of Arizona, he paused for 51 seconds and appeared to gather himself.
….9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green’s death was an emotional punch to the gut for so many people across the country. Among them … is the president himself, whose younger daughter, Sasha, was born three months before Christina.
“I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it,” Mr. Obama had just said. “All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.”
And then he stopped. After 10 seconds, he looked to his right. After 20 seconds, he took a deep breath. After 30 seconds, he started blinking. Then his jaw tightened. Finally, after 51 seconds of silence, he began to speak again, describing a book published after Sept. 11, 2001 – the day Christina was born – that included her picture and simple wishes for a child’s life, including one inscription that read “I hope you jump in rain puddles.”
It was a stark moment for Mr. Obama, both as a president and as a father … he made no explicit mention of either Sasha or her older sister, Malia. But they have been on his mind as he has grappled with how to respond to the shootings…. the president, friends said, was initially hesitant about calling Christina’s parents after the shootings, saying that if it had happened to his daughters, he would not be capable of talking to anyone. He eventually did call the Greens … and then met with them before his speech.
..on Wednesday night, Mr. Obama’s perspective as a parent came through, propelling him to what is likely to be remembered as the one of the most soaring moments of his presidency.
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