Emotional Obama: ‘Our hearts are broken today’

  • Women embrace at the site of a makeshift memorial for school shooting victims at the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. A gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the town, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself on Friday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)Women embrace at the site of a makeshift memorial for school shooting victims at the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. A gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the town, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself on Friday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • Jessica Henderson, 19, walks past a sign with a bouquet of flowers to lay at a memorial at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/Allen Breed)

Jessica Henderson, 19, walks past a sign with a bouquet of flowers to lay at a memorial at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/Allen Breed)
  • A man clutches two sobbing women at the site of a makeshift memorial for school shooting victims at the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. A gunman opened fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself on Friday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

A man clutches two sobbing women at the site of a makeshift memorial for school shooting victims at the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. A gunman opened fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself on Friday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • A priest embraces a woman outside St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church between Masses on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)A priest embraces a woman outside St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church between Masses on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • Daniel Barden (Family handout)Daniel Barden (Family handout)
  • A man reacts placing candles on a makeshift memorial in honor of the victims who died a day earlier when a gunman opened fire in an elementary school, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. The man, who died from a self-inflicted wound, allegedly killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday inside the Sandy Hook Elementary school, massacring 26 people, including 20 children. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)A man reacts placing candles on a makeshift memorial in honor of the victims who died a day earlier when a gunman opened fire in an elementary school, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. The man, who died from a self-inflicted wound, allegedly killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday inside the Sandy Hook Elementary school, massacring 26 people, including 20 children. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • A message is seen on a candle outside the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. A man killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday inside the Sandy Hook Elementary school, massacring 26 people, including 20 children, as youngsters cowered in fear to the sound of gunshots reverberating through the building and screams echoing over the intercom. (AP Photo/David Goldman)A message is seen on a candle outside the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. A man killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday inside the Sandy Hook Elementary school, massacring 26 people, including 20 children, as youngsters cowered in fear to the sound of gunshots reverberating through the building and screams echoing over the intercom. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • ** FILE ** Parents walk away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School with their children following a mass shooting at the school on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. Twenty schoolchildren and six adults were killed. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)** FILE ** Parents walk away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School with their children following a mass shooting at the school on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. Twenty schoolchildren and six adults were killed. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)
  • A couple of volunteer firefighters place flowers at a makeshift memorial at a sign for the Sandy Hook Elementary school, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

A couple of volunteer firefighters place flowers at a makeshift memorial at a sign for the Sandy Hook Elementary school, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday, Dec. 14, 2012.  (AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks)  In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks)
  • A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel) A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)
  • Victims family leave a firehouse staging area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Victims family leave a firehouse staging area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • A mother hugs her daughter following the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles northeast of New York City, on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)  A mother hugs her daughter following the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles northeast of New York City, on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)
  • This satellite image provided by Google shows the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. A shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, left the gunman dead and at least one teacher wounded. (AP Photo/Google)This satellite image provided by Google shows the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. A shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, left the gunman dead and at least one teacher wounded. (AP Photo/Google)
  • Law enforcement canvass an area nearby a school shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Law enforcement canvass an area nearby a school shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • Heavily armed Connecticut State troopers are on the scene at the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTHeavily armed Connecticut State troopers are on the scene at the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • Teachers walk away from the Sandy Hook School following a shooting  at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTTeachers walk away from the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles northeast of New York, on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. Twenty schoolchildren and six staff members died in the rampage. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles northeast of New York, on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. Twenty schoolchildren and six staff members died in the rampage. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • School children wait for their parents at the Sandy Hook firehouse following a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT: THE JOURNAL NEWS, FRANK BECERRA JR.School children wait for their parents at the Sandy Hook firehouse following a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT: THE JOURNAL NEWS, FRANK BECERRA JR.
  • Heavily armed Connecticut State troopers are on the scene at the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTHeavily armed Connecticut State troopers are on the scene at the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • President Obama wipes his eye as he talks in the White House briefing room in Washington about the Connecticut elementary school shooting on Dec. 14, 2012. (Associated Press)President Obama wipes his eye as he talks in the White House briefing room in Washington about the Connecticut elementary school shooting on Dec. 14, 2012. (Associated Press)
  • Parents walk away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, after a gunman killed 20 schoolchildren and 6 adults there. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)Parents walk away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, after a gunman killed 20 schoolchildren and 6 adults there. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)
  • Parents walk away from the Sandy Hook School with their children following a shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, ONLINE OUT, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTParents walk away from the Sandy Hook School with their children following a shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, ONLINE OUT, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • Teachers walk away from the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTTeachers walk away from the Sandy Hook School following a shooting at the school Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • School children wait for their parents at the Sandy Hook firehouse following a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School  Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTSchool children wait for their parents at the Sandy Hook firehouse following a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • A woman weeps as she arrives to pick up her children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTA woman weeps as she arrives to pick up her children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • A woman hugs her daughter after being reunited at the Sandy Hook firehouse after a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)A woman hugs her daughter after being reunited at the Sandy Hook firehouse after a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.)
  • Ambulances leave an area near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Ambulances leave an area near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • People embrace at a firehouse staging area for family around near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)People embrace at a firehouse staging area for family around near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • A man and woman leave the staging area for family around near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)A man and woman leave the staging area for family around near the scene of a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • Law enforcement canvass an area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Law enforcement canvass an area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • A young girl is comforted following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)  A young girl is comforted following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)
  • A woman weeps as she arrives to pick up her children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUTA woman weeps as she arrives to pick up her children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Frank Becerra Jr.) MANDATORY CREDIT, NYC OUT, NO SALES, TV OUT, NEWSDAY OUT; MAGS OUT
  • A man reacts following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)  A man reacts following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)
  • A young girl cires following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)  A young girl cires following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel)
  • Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, on Dec. 14, 2012. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (Associated Press)Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, on Dec. 14, 2012. It was the worst school shooting in the country's history. (Associated Press)
  • Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, right, talks with officials at a staging area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, right, talks with officials at a staging area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • A mother runs with her children as police above canvass homes in the area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)A mother runs with her children as police above canvass homes in the area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of New York City, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. An official with knowledge of Friday's shooting said 27 people were dead, including 18 children. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • Two people embrace following a service at the Congregation Adath Israel in Newtown, Conn., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. Rabbi Shaul Praver said a six-year-old boy from the congregation was a school shooting victim and that he would be buried on Sunday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)Two people embrace following a service at the Congregation Adath Israel in Newtown, Conn., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. Rabbi Shaul Praver said a six-year-old boy from the congregation was a school shooting victim and that he would be buried on Sunday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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Wiping away tears and choking back his emotions, President Obama said Friday the mass shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., require the country to “take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”

“As a country we have been through this too many times, whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin or a movie theater in Aurora or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children,” Mr. Obama said on television from the White House press briefing room.

The president wiped tears from his eyes several times as he spoke, and he paused for several seconds to collect himself as he tried to speak about the victims in Connecticut — “beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old.”

“I know there’s not a parent in America who does not feel the same overwhelming grief that I do,” Mr. Obama said, his voice thick with emotion.

Although he didn’t mention any specific actions the federal government might take in the wake of the shootings, Mr. Obama described a string of mass shootings that have taken place during his administration, ending with Friday’s shootings that left at least 27 dead, including 18 children, according to officials.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said earlier in the day that Mr. Obama still supports renewing a ban on assault-style rifles, but said Friday was not the day to get into debates over gun-control laws.

But gun-control activists in and out of Congress immediately seized on the incident to argue now was the time to consider stricter laws against firearms.

“Yet another unstable person has gotten access to firearms and committed an unspeakable crime against innocent children. We cannot simply accept this as a routine product of modern American life,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat. “If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don’t know when is.”

But Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Washington Republican, warned against a snap reaction in the wake of the tragedy.

“We need to find out what happened and what drove this individual to this place. I think we have to be careful about suggesting new gun laws,” she said. “We need to look at what drives a crazy person to do these kind of actions and make sure that we’re enforcing the laws that are currently on the books.”

After a gunman killed 12 people in July at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., Mr. Obama said “there are going to be other days for politics.” He has spoken in the past of the need to take a community-wide approach to reducing violence, and has resisted many calls from the left to pursue stricter gun laws aggressively.

The president said the country has “endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years.”

“Each time I learn the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would, as a parent,” Mr. Obama said. “That was especially true today. A majority of those who died today were children — “and he stopped, sighing audibly.

“They had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own,” the president said. “Our hearts are broken today, for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.”

To show “respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence,” the president ordered U.S. flags to be flow at half-staff on all public buildings, military posts, naval vessels and U.S. diplomatic posts until sunset on Tuesday.

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