Obama's Tucson Speech: Video and Reactions

| Thu Jan. 13, 2011 1:18 PM EST

 Here's President Barack Obama's speech about the Tucson shooting:

And here's what folks are saying:

  • Mother Jones' own David Corn"President Barack Obama's speech in Tucson was undeniably a high moment of his presidency. But you can judge that for yourself. (As the father of a nine-year-old daughter, I could not imagine delivering such an address—and keeping it together.)"
  • The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan: "To rate this address on any political meter would be to demean it. The president wrested free of politics tonight and spoke of greater things. I pledge myself to try and follow his advice and debate with vigor and spirit and candor and bluntness, but with more civility, more empathy, and, yes, more love."
  • Time's Joe Klein: "And in summoning the community and the nation and the Congresswoman that Christine Taylor Green imagined we are, he summoned for us the country that we should be. On this night. certainly, he was the President she—and we—imagined he might be. On this night, finally, he became President of all the people. It was a privilege to behold."
  • National Review's Rich Lowry: "President Obama turned in a magnificent performance. This was a non-accusatory, genuinely civil, case for civility, in stark contrast to what we've read and heard over the last few days. He subtly rebuked the Left's finger-pointing, and rose above the rancor of both sides, exactly as a president should. Tonight, he re-captured some of the tone of his famous 2004 convention speech. Well done."
  • Slate's Dahlia Lithwick: "President Obama’s speech in Tucson last night should be ranked with his greatest oratorical moments, largely because in the end he was brave enough to sidestep politics and ideology, and speak instead of love, and family, and the need for kindness. He answered two years of enraged Mama Grizzly with 30 powerful minutes of quiet Papa Bear."
  • The Atlantic's James Fallows: "The standard comparisons of the past four days have been to Ronald Reagan after the Challenger disaster and Bill Clinton after Oklahoma City. Tonight's speech matched those as a demonstration of "head of state" presence, and far exceeded them as oratory—while being completely different in tone and nature. They, in retrospect, were mainly—and effectively—designed to note tragic loss. Obama turned this into a celebration—of the people who were killed, of the values they lived by, and of the way their example could bring out the better in all of us and in our country."
  • National Review's John Pitney: "President Obama gave a fine speech reminding us that there is more to life than politics, and more to politics than self-interest."
  • Political scientist Jonathan Bernstein: "Obama or any president represents us—makes us present even though we are not present—because we have contended with him, because he's had to make so many promises to us about what he will do, how he will act, who he will be. Barack Obama is, as we all know, a talented speaker. The Barack Obama who gave the speech in Tucson, however, is one who has built himself through his interactions with the electorate, who has become our representative in a rich sense, not a narrow one. That's why even the worst of them, even a Jimmy Carter or a George W. Bush, are usually able to deliver when the occasion calls for it. Put a little oratorical skill into the mix, and, well, you're going to get what you heard last night in Tucson."
  • Blogger Andrew Sprung: "In building his image of a national family, embodied in the people whose lives he sketched, Obama moved miles behind his 'no red state/blue state —> United States' credo of 2004. In evoking the reactions of the bereaved, he spoke as husband, father and son. He made me proud to be part of his family."
  • The New York Times' Nate Silver"President Obama’s speech in Tucson tonight seems to have won nearly universal praise. I suspect it will be remembered as one of his best moments, almost regardless of what else takes place during the remainder of his presidency."
  • National Review's John Miller: "I think it may be the best speech he’s ever given."

Watch it.

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