President Obama promised to use the power of the presidency to try to prevent more events like the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School during a speech at a vigil for the families of the victims of Friday’s elementary school shooting. “In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds” to prevent more tragedies like this, Obama said on Sunday night in Newtown, Conn.
Though he did not cite specific policy proposals, Obama made the case that the nation was not doing enough to protect its children and must change in order to do better, citing the fact that this is the fourth time he has traveled to a community suffering from a mass shooting.
“Caring for our children, it’s our first job,” Obama said. “If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how as a society we will be judged. And by that measure, can we truly say as a nation that we’re meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say, that we’re doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm?”
“If we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change.”
“We can’t tolerate this anymore,” Obama continued. “These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.”
A White House official said earlier Sunday that Obama was the primary author of the speech. Introducing Obama Sunday evening, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) said Obama told him that Friday was the hardest day of his presidency.
There were audible sobs from the audience when the president named the six adults who died Friday at the school. Later in the speech, Obama read the names of the 20 children slain as the audience sobbed more.
“God has called them all home,” the president said. “For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory.”
Watch the full speech here: