Colorado shooting puts presidential campaign on hold

By Mark Curtis

mcurtis@abc6.com

The massacre in Colorado affected the entire nation in a profound way Friday. In fact, it brought this year's heated presidential campaign to a halt.

     Mitt Romney was expected to either name his running mate or go after President Obama's economic policies at a campaign stop in New Hampshire, but then every thing changed overnight.

     Somehow, any talk of politics would have been hollow and meaningless. So the candidates put down the campaign signs and joined the nation in prayer and mourning.

     It was a somber day across the nation, including in Bow, New Hampshire, where a campaign appearance by Mitt Romney turned into an impromptu memorial to the victims in Colorado.

     “Our hearts break with the sadness of this unspeakable tragedy. Anne and I join the President and First Lady and all Americans in offering our deepest condolences, for those whose lives were shattered in a few moments,” said Romney.@

     After the Governor's very, very brief remarks, the rally ended. In fact, there was really no rally at all. This was certainly not a day for campaigning, it is a day for national mourning.

     President Obama spoke of the tragedy at a campaign stop in Florida. “Michele and I will be fortunate to hug our girls a little tight tonight and I am sure you will do the same with your children. But for those parents who might not be so lucky, we have to embrace them and let them know, we will be there fior them as a nation,” said Obama. 

     Back in New Hampshire, people said the candidates did the right thing by calling a halt to campaigning.

     “It's inappropriate to celebrate or anything. Our country is mourning the death of these children and the sorrow the families are going through,” said Diane Miller from New Hampshire.

     Governor Romney thanked people for coming and the canceled rally ended quietly.

     And for now, both candidates are pulling their attack ads on each other in the state of Colorado, which is one of about 7 battleground political states that are just too close to call. The candidates feel it would be inappropriate to campaign aggressively, given the circumstaces.