Hours after President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, visited Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) at an Arizona hospital, the commander-in-chief delivered a speech on Jan. 12 at a memorial event in Tucson.
Obama reported that Giffords' husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, said that the 40-year-old lawmaker opened her eyes shortly following the President's visit. It was the first time she had opened her eyes since the Jan. 8 shooting, which left six dead and 14 wounded.
The President also eulogized each victim who was killed, then cautioned Americans about the dangers of politicizing the tragedy. He indicated that the gunman alone — and no political movement — should be blamed for the shooting.
"At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized — at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do — it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds," said Obama, quoted by CNN.
Obama's speech has been praised by members of both political parties. For example, Rich Lowry of the conservative magazine National Review said that the President "recaptured some of the tone of his famous 2004 convention speech." Lowry said that Obama rose above the liberal finger-pointing by asking for civility in the wake of tragedy.