President Obama stopped in Aurora, Colo., yesterday to meet with victims of Friday’s movie theater massacre.
“I had a chance to visit with each family, and most of the conversation was filled with memory. It was an opportunity for families to describe how wonderful their brother, or their son, or daughter was, and the lives that they have touched, and the dreams that they held for the future,” Obama said in his remarks. “I confessed to them that words are always inadequate in these kinds of situations, but that my main task was to serve as a representative of the entire country and let them know that we are thinking about them at this moment and will continue to think about them each and every day, and that the awareness that not only all of America but much of the world is thinking about them might serve as some comfort.”
At 7:17 p.m. local time, less than four hours after his arrival, Air Force One took off for San Francisco. He did not stay for a candlelight vigil in Aurora that evening.
This morning, Obama was flying from San Francisco to Reno to deliver remarks at the VFW convention, then coming back to Oakland for three campaign events, with tickets at $35,800 per person.
On Tuesday, he flies up to the Pacific Northwest for a schedule of campaign events; Obama staffers said that one “grassroots” event was canceled out of deference to the Aurora shooting.
Campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters aboard Air Force One on Sunday that “the tragic events of last Thursday have changed both the tone and the schedule of events.”
“As you know, we pulled down our event in Portland that was scheduled to happen on Tuesday — which is a grassroots event — for two reasons,” Psaki said. “One is, of course, the nature of the tragedy and the feeling, while there’s not a playbook for this, that given the tone of grassroots events, it was the right step to take. The second reason was that in order to come to Colorado — which was a big priority for the President, to visit with the families, to do that as soon as it was possible and made sense on both sides — we had to pull down an event in order to have the resources to do that.”
It was unclear how the Tuesday Portland rally affected Obama’s Sunday stop in Colorado, but given the “grassroots” nature it does appear to be the lowest-dollar event on the schedule in terms of per ticket price.
“Our actions are clearly conveying how this has impacted him and how this has impacted our approach,” said Psaki, who confirmed that there will be other campaign events on Tuesday.
These Tuesday events are a $30,000 per person roundtable at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, followed by a $500 per head fundraising reception. In Hunts Point, Wash., he’ll hold another roundtable at $35,800 per person and a reception starting at $5,000 per head.
A campaign official said that Obama’s ads have been pulled in Colorado through the rest of the week.