Obama fights tears in speech
A DEEPLY emotional President Barack Obama, (below) his voice breaking and tears forming in his eyes, said the killing of as many as 18 children at the school shows the nation must take "meaningful action" to stem such violence.
"I know there's not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same over-whelming grief that I do," President Obama said at the White House, just hours after at least one gunman opened fire at the school in Newtown, Connecticut, killing as many as 27 people. "Our hearts are broken today."
The president focused on the families of the victims and the reaction of the nation, touching only briefly on ways to address gun violence.
"As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it's an elementary school in Newtown or a shopping mall in Oregon or a temple in Wisconsin or a movie theatre in Aurora or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children," Mr Obama said. "We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this."
The Connecticut shooting, the most deadly in a string of mass killings this year, is sure to revive a national debate over gun control laws – a politically fraught issue that the president avoided during his re-election campaign.
The US president paused repeatedly as he struggled to keep his composure while speaking of the children – aged between five and 10 – who were killed and the life milestones they now would miss.
Shortly before speaking, the president made an order that all US flags be flown at half-mast on public grounds until next Tuesday.