President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan during the motorcade ride to Palm Beach International Airport in Palm Beach, Fla., July 20, 2012. The President called Mayor Hogan to offer his condolences and support to the Aurora community. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with senior advisors in the Oval Office to discuss the shootings in Aurora, Colorado, July 20. Pictured, from left, are: Kathryn Ruemmler, Counsel to the President, and FBI Director Robert Mueller
KVOA: Those wishing to oust Sheriff Clarence Dupnik are taking action this afternoon. The Pima County Tea Party Patriots have organized a “Dump Dupnik Rally” at the Sheriff’s Office, claiming Dupnik is no longer fit to be sheriff after controversial statements he made surrounding the Tucson shootings.
Meanwhile, Dupnik supporters have also planned a rally at the Sheriff’s Office today. “People tend to poo poo this business about all the vitriol that we hear inflaming the American public by people who make a living off of doing that. That may be free speech, but it’s not without consequences,” Dupnik said during a news conference hours after the shootings at a Tucson Safeway on January 8th.
Tucson resident Mary Cuevas agrees with the Sheriff’s words. “I feel that he was coming straight from the heart and that it needed to be heard and that it was the perfect time actually for him to start this debate,” Cuevas said.
Cuevas says she is planning to come support Sheriff Dupnik peacefully and silently. “When I heard that the Tea Partiers were going to protest against Dupnik, and try to have him resign, I’m just against it,” Cuevas said.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet the Green family after the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 25. John and Roxanna Green are the parents of eleven-year-old Dallas and the late Christina Taylor, the nine-year-old girl killed when a gunman opened fire on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson earlier this month. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Daniel Hernandez, the intern credited with saving the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords when she was shot in Tucson, will be at the State of the Union as President Obama’s guest, a senior administration official says. Hernandez will be joined in the First Lady’s seating area by the family of nine-year old Christina Taylor Green, who was killed in the shootings, and by Giffords’ surgeon Peter Ghee.
Washington Post: Americans overwhelmingly describe the tone of political discourse in the country as negative, verging on angry, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, but more than half say that the culture did not contribute to the shootings in Tucson that killed six people and wounded 13…
Evaluations of President Obama’s handling of the Jan. 8 tragedy are highly positive across the political spectrum (78 percent), with nearly eight in 10 giving him high marks for his response to the incident. Even 71 percent of Republicans say they approve of his leadership following the shootings.
….In contrast to glowing reviews for the president, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin draws more negative than positive evaluations of the way she has handled the tragedy. About 30 percent give her positive marks while nearly half – 46 percent – disapprove of her actions…
I’ve been avoiding reading Frank Rich lately because some of his recent articles drove me bonkers, but thank you so much to Jennifer for letting me know about this one. I just posted extracts below – you can read the complete article at the link. I’ve been amazed the past week by how many commentators – and not just fruitloops on Fox ‘News’ – decided we could just dismiss what happened in Arizona as the work of a ‘mad man’ and not even consider that the inflammatory anti-Government hate-filled rhetoric of the right and the atmosphere it has created could have influenced his instability in any way, or tipped him over the edge. He had, after all, one hugely significant thing in common with the Tea Party and their like, he hated Government and was utterly paranoid about it. And he had that right wing insanity swirling all around his troubled head. How on earth could he have been immune to it? Any way, Frank Rich makes the argument briiliantly – thanks again Jennifer.
Frank Rich (NYT): …If we learn nothing from this tragedy, we are back where we started. And where we started was with two years of accelerating political violence…that struck fear into many, not the least of whom was Gabrielle Giffords.
…Did Loughner see Palin’s own most notorious contribution to the rancorous tone — her March 2010 Web graphic targeting Congressional districts? We have no idea — nor does it matter. But Giffords did. Her reaction to it — captured in an interview she did back then with Chuck Todd of MSNBC — was the most recycled, if least understood, video of last week.
…Giffords said that Palin had put the “crosshairs of a gun sight over our district,” adding that “when people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.” … (she said) that colleagues who had been in the House “20, 30 years” had never seen vitriol this bad. … Few wanted to see what Giffords saw — that the vandalism and death threats were the latest consequences of a tide of ugly insurrectionism that had been rising since the final weeks of the 2008 campaign and that had threatened to turn violent from the start.
…Since Obama’s ascension, we’ve seen repeated incidents of political violence … he said, correctly, on Wednesday that “a simple lack of civility” didn’t cause the Tucson tragedy. It didn’t cause these other incidents either. What did inform the earlier violence — including the vandalism at Giffords’s office — was an antigovernment radicalism as rabid on the right now as it was on the left in the late 1960s. That Loughner was likely insane, with no coherent ideological agenda, does not mean that a climate of antigovernment hysteria has no effect on him or other crazed loners out there….
…What’s more disturbing is what Republican and conservative leaders have not said. Their continuing silence during two years of simmering violence has been chilling.
LA Times: As President Obama and his aides prepared to memorialize the dead in Tucson, they were dealing with death close to home.
Two days after the Tucson mass shooting, Ashley Turton, the wife of Dan Turton, Obama’s liaison to the House of Representatives, died when her car struck a wall in their garage, igniting a flash fire.
A pall fell over the White House, already dark from the news in Arizona. Several members of Obama’s staff sought to help their colleague and the couple’s twin toddlers and year-old baby. Indispensable items on the schedule continued – two heads of state visited, and there were meetings and briefings – but the president remained mostly behind closed doors preparing for Wednesday’s memorial in Tucson. The week was set to end with a eulogy for late diplomat Richard C. Holbrooke.
“I think we’re all searching for meaning here,” said one senior administration official … Obama … had the job of trying to provide that meaning.
One of the major speeches of his presidency had suddenly been thrust upon him. He began his own search hours after he heard of the Tucson shootings. … One of the first people he reached out to after calling in his speechwriter was a young clergyman on his staff, Joshua DuBois.
…Obama moved between biblical teachings from the life of Job and verses of Psalm 46 in what amounted to a personal search for the appropriate message and merged his speechwriters with his spiritual counselors in an unusual collaboration.
It wasn’t the first time Obama has meditated on the life of Job, the biblical figure who loses his family, health and money. Like a tree that is cut down, the president told New Orleans residents on the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, their city can sprout again.
…On Saturday and Sunday, he spent long stretches preparing for and then calling family members of those killed and injured in the shooting. He also talked to Mark E. Kelly at the bedside of Kelly’s wife, Giffords…
On Monday morning, the president’s interim chief of staff, Pete Rouse, e-mailed West Wing staffers notifying them that Ashley Turton had died that morning … There was a brief break from work at the White House that morning when the staff spilled onto the frigid South Lawn, joining the president and Michelle Obama in a moment of silence to honor the Tucson shooting victims. Some said they also were thinking of the Turtons.
It was a moment to “connect in grief,” said one staffer, with one another and with the Obamas. Then they returned to their duties, focusing on the midweek memorial set for the University of Arizona sports arena. Expectations for the president were high … Would Obama be up to this moment?
The speechwriting started Monday. Obama summoned Cody Keenan, whose many written remarks for the president include his eulogy for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Keenan listened and wrote as the president dictated what he wanted to say.
….Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin was struck by Obama’s unusual show of emotion. As he spoke of Christina-Taylor, his voice grew choked and hoarse for a moment. Throughout the speech, his face registered grief at some points, resolve at others, and, as he announced that Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time earlier that day, joy.
“He did exactly what the moment called for, in a way that was consistent with him as a cerebral president,” Kearns Goodwin said. “It was a completely authentic moment.”
The Arizona Republic: Smiling and grateful to be alive, Pam Simon, one of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ wounded staffers, returned to the office Friday to heal in the company of her colleagues.
“It was really important to see the rest of my Giffords family. We are like a family,” said Simon, 63. “I think it’s part of the healing to circle back and to have the energy of friends and people who love us.”
Simon, who works as a community-outreach coordinator for Giffords, survived two gunshots, one to the wrist and another in the chest that traversed her body and lodged in her buttocks.