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Posted at 1:58 PM ET, 01/11/2011

What President Obama should say (#obamashouldsay)

By Emi Kolawole

President Obama is scheduled to speak in Arizona Wednesday evening. The speech will come four days after a gunman, identified by police as Jared Lee Loughner, killed six people and wounded 14 during a shooting rampage in front of a Tucson supermarket. Among the dead: a nine-year old girl who aspired to enter politics and a federal judge. Among the wounded: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), the apparent target.

Analysts and commentators around the web are giving the president advice regarding what he should (and should not) say to the American people. We've collected analysis that we have found to be interesting (with a special nod to the Post's Chris Cillizza), but professional analysts don't own the discussion. We want to know what you think Obama should say in his speech. We'll be following your comments and all #Obamashouldsay tweets.

Chris Cillizza, The Fix

Modern presidential history is dotted with moments just like this one -- Ronald Reagan's speech to the country after the Challenger shuttle explosion, Bill Clinton's address at the Oklahoma City bombing memorial service, George W. Bush's speech following the Sept. 11 attacks -- when the nation turned to its chief executive for sympathy, empathy and reassurance.
...
The trio of presidential addresses are not entirely analagous -- Bush and Clinton were speaking after acts of terrorism while Reagan's address came after an entirely different sort of disaster -- but there are common threads that run though all three speeches that can provide a window into how Obama might best approach what is one of the more challenging addresses of his public life to date.

Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish

My own view is that Obama should not use the occasion to duck it. It must be possible to speak of the need for a more civil discourse without directly linking this mass murder to the far right's rhetoric. Obama should talk of Giffords' life and service, of the inevitability of robust debate in a democracy, of the health of lively argument ... but also of the need to remember who we are at our best. He can easily exonerate anyone but Loughner of direct responsibility for this crime, and yet also say it is an opportunity for something new, and better, and calmer.

David Frum, FrumForum

Go all in on mental health. Liberals will want the president to address gun control. Unsmart. Stokes your opposition, leads to a political contest you cannot win, and even if you do win, what really do you accomplish? A ban on extended magazines? Next time the killer will bring two guns.

Wesley Pruden, The Washington Times

Mr. Obama could ... concede that he contributed to "a climate of hate" when he went a little over the top in instructing a Philadelphia fundraiser two years ago how to deal with Republicans: "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." He could say that this was meant in jest as something Rooster Cogburn might say, expressed in the heat of a boisterous campaign rally and hardly meant to encourage anyone to actually take his Bowie knife down from the shelf and find a plump Republican to slice and dice.

By Emi Kolawole  | January 11, 2011; 1:58 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Condition of Gabrielle Giffords and other Arizona shooting victims updated
Next: Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) calls for gun-control legislation aimed at protecting lawmakers

Comments

address the importance of all senseless death, like the people who died for freedom. or defending the rights of a citizen.

Posted by: Liberty14 | January 12, 2011 10:12 PM | Report abuse

address the importance of all senseless death, like the people who died for freedom. or defending the rights of a citizen.

Posted by: Liberty14 | January 12, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Viewing CNN covering the service in Tucson. It is embarrassing to watch - - more like a political pep rally featuring members of Obama's cabinet being wildly applauded. Where oh where is solemn acknowlegement of the nation's loss? Not there. How disgusting.

Posted by: phread58 | January 12, 2011 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I resign.

Posted by: wewintheylose1 | January 12, 2011 8:06 PM | Report abuse

"Don't forget to pick up your T-shirt at the tables outside, right after the rally"

Posted by: malclave | January 12, 2011 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Obama should not go, its a set up to assassinate him just like Kennedy.

Posted by: POLOinDC | January 12, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Obama should not go, its a set up to assassinate him just like Kennedy.

Posted by: POLOinDC | January 12, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Most likely Obama will come out attacking his opponents, doing all kind of political grand standing and show us that this is just another fortunate opportunity for him, the left, and the reprehensible media to push their agenda further up our rectums...

Posted by: SirLoinofBeef | January 12, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Hi..maybe it's just a typo because of the teeny cellphone keyboard, but would someone let Mr. Nakamura know that the President will be at MCKALE, not Mchale center in Tucson....

Posted by: SouthwestGirl | January 12, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I think the President should ignore and all "advice" given here.

You people have some major anger issues.

It is more than appropriate for the Chief Executive our elected government to say something, especially after a murder attempt on a Congresswoman.

He's pretty good at this stuff. He's a good student of history. I look forward to what President Obama has to say.

If you want to give comfort to America's enemies during this tragedy, then knock yourself out.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | January 12, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I am a betrayer of the Constitution and hereby resign.

Posted by: michaelmagnus9 | January 12, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

The first thing he should say is to his friends at MSNBC... Chris, Keith, Rachel etc. "BACK OFF" you're going to destroy the Progressive movement.. You attacked Palin daily from the day after the 08 election and turned her into a political power... You attacked the stupid, racist Tea Party. Ms Pelosi called them "Astro turf" and you created a powerful political group that helped wipe out my congress. Now you are calling for gun control... Ever time we Progressives do that, gun sales go up.... Don', he should say, do the same stupid things and expect a different result. He should say "Shut up and sit down" Will he, probably not..

Posted by: james_m_reilly1 | January 12, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama already apologized for using the word enemies, now he must take back his violent metaphors for a start. He could address both mental health issues and updating the background check database to stop the Jared types from purchasing a glock. A moment of silence as well as Sunday churchgoers call to prayer for the fallen. The innocent 9 year old's death has made this horrible event stick in the minds of all of us. Far worse than Challenger, a bit less than 9/11 in the American psyche.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 12, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

On the news, I am hearing that Obama's speech can be a defining moment for him if he says the right things. Well, no matter what he says, no matter how emotional he tries to be, and no matter how he tries to act as though he is connecting with people, his words will never erase his negative attitude about the United States. If people who thought he wasn't a good choice for president and change their minds after this speech, he will just think that people are as dumb as he thinks they are.

Posted by: mafox1 | January 12, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

On the news, I am hearing that Obama's speech can be a defining moment for him if he says the right things. Well, no matter what he says, no matter how emotional he tries to be, and no matter how he tries to act as though he is connecting with people, his words will never erase his negative attitude about the United States. If people who thought he wasn't a good choice for president and change their minds after this speech, he will just think that people are as dumb as he thinks they are.

Posted by: mafox1 | January 12, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

TravisBickle1 Suggests "Perhaps we can exercise "second amendment solutions" for all of the wrong thinking people livng in the US "who are not patriots". There is no place here for Democrats the party of hate to encourage other Democrats to use guns to kill people they do not agree with! Why are you so evil?
Why does the WA PO lets Democrats post such evil on their website yet take down posts that contain facts they do not want people to hear? Who is guilty here?

Posted by: Loxinabox | January 12, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I hope the President begins by making a sincere and contrite apology for the many speeches he has made inciting his supporters to violence -- too often he has used language which is dangerous and undignified, telling people to go after their opponents with guns; promising to crush those who oppose him.... It demeans the office and it is frightening in a supposedly free country. Then he can dismiss people like Robert Gibbs who have promised that opponents will "feel our boot on their throat." Finally, he can apologize to all those who have been wounded by his irresponsible rhetoric.

Posted by: Marks1153 | January 12, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Wesley Pruden said exactly what I expected from the Washington Times. What an idiot.

Posted by: johnhouse | January 12, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Please someone, address mental health care in the US. It is extremely difficult to get help for a mentally ill adult until they are a threat to themselves or others. This man was obviously disintegrating before the eyes of everyone who knew him. But as long as he stayed quietly in his own private hell, he and his family were left completely alone to deal with it.

Now- far too late for everyone involved in this tragedy- he will get help.

Posted by: Alicew234 | January 12, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

He needs to admit to all Americans that he is a liar and that he sold his soul to the Devil when he sold out America on health care reform. He then needs to admit he needs mental help and announce that he is stepping down from the position of President and moving to a country far away so we will never have to see him again. I know this is the only way he can stop the majority of Americans from wondering why he hates America so much!

Posted by: Loxinabox | January 12, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

What reputable newspapr would even run a column such as this?


I think it is quite obvious that Obama
has some real personaity problems and the most prominent is his insatiable craving for attention and adoration.

he will I am sure adopt his 'preacherman man' delivery with it's physical movements and and at times faux hesitant delivery with its eh, eh eh


enough of this. He needs to be informed that he will address people of religions different from his own and he needs to respect the protocol of other religions.


Perhaps it is hopeless to expect better and what we need to do is treat Obama like a burlesque character and maybe he will stop insulting us.

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | January 12, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

What I like to hear from Barry? "I'm very sorry for all my lies. I'm a muslim, a Kenyan and I resign." Sadly, it's more likely well get an ear full "how wonderful I am".

Posted by: carlbatey | January 12, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"We want to know what you think Obama should say in his speech."

President Obama should apologize for not protecting our borders, our citizens, and for suing the state of AZ. for starters. Anything else he has to say means nothing as it is pure politics even in this terrible time for the citizens of AZ.

Obama we know ye well.

Posted by: wkcc36 | January 12, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

David Frum almost has it correct. He should focus first on foremost on grief, senselessness, and the lack of mental health medical care solutions available to judges and families with disturbed individuals.

That said let the facts stand about the killers choice of weapons and ease with which they were obtained. No need for any proposals, we the people can think for ourselves. We know who is over the top with hate rhetoric and pushing firearm solutions to all problems whether justified or not. We know who wants any local nut case to have an arsenal in their house as large as at the Army Depot. The hate mongers know who they are. And we the people know also.

Posted by: chucko2 | January 12, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Well what he shouldn't say is that any right winger had anything to do with this killing....if he so much as hints at that, he's out in 2012.

Posted by: mjandrews8 | January 12, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Wesley Pruden does seem to have his finger on the pulse of what average Americans, imagining their own 9-year-old suddenly struck dead by a madman because of her innocent desire to meet her own Congresswoman, need to hear: an analysis of a dated political reference to a fictional character called Rooster Cogburn.

Could Mr. Pruden be more clueless?

Posted by: fairfaxvoter1 | January 11, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

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