Obama: 'Our hearts are broken today'

5:55 PM, Dec 14, 2012   |    comments
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President Obama talks about Connecticut school shooting tragedy.

by David Jackson, USA TODAY

A tearful, emotional President Obama said Friday that the nation has endured too many of the kinds of shootings that took 27 lives Friday in Connecticut -- including 20 children.

"Our hearts are broken today," Obama said at the White House, pausing at times to gather himself and brush back tears.

While he didn't specifically cite gun control, Obama said: "We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action."

Choking up in citing the deaths of the children, Obama -- the father two of two daughters -- said the students "had their whole lives ahead of them."

Just before his remarks, Obama ordered flags at federal facilities to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the victims.

Obama has received updates on the attack since Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan first informed him of it at 10:30 a.m., White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

"As a father, incidents like these weigh heavily on him," Carney said.

The president and aides "feel enormous sympathy for the families," Carney said, and the government stands ready to help state and local law enforcement officials.

In the immediate wake of the shootings, Obama spoke by phone with FBI Director Robert Mueller and Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy.

Asked about the gun-control issue, Carney said today is not the day for "Washington policy debates."

Copyright 2012 USATODAY.com

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