Obama Urges Americans to 'Stay United'

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President Barack Obama called on Americans to stay united on Wednesday evening during a memorial service for Saturday's Tucson, Ariz., shooting victims.

It was a chance for Arizonans as well as all Americans to remember and begin to heal.

At times, the crowd of 14,000 was moved to tears and at other times they were moved to tears of joy, as President Obama remembered each of the six people killed and voiced America's hope for those who were injured.

Gerson Moreno-Riano, political scientist at Regent University, discussed how President Obama's speech was effective as a healing agent for the country on the Jan. 13 edition of CBN Newschannel's Morning news. Click here to watch the interview

CBN News also spoke with Janet Pfeiffer, anger management specialist and author of 'The Secret Side of Anger', about victimization and pointing blame when it comes to tragedies like this.  Click here to watch.

After a visit to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords', D-Ariz. hospital room, the president shared amazing news about Giffords who's recovering from a gunshot wound to the head.

"A few minutes after we left her room, some of her colleagues from Congress were in her room and Gabby opened her eyes for the first time," Obama revealed.

Obama recognized the congresswoman's intern Daniel Hernandez, 20, who helped control her bleeding after she was wounded. He also recognized along the men and women who tackled the alleged gunman and took his ammunition away from him as he tried to reload.

The president told the crowd there's no way to know what triggered the shooting rampage. In the debates that have stemmed from the tragedy, he encouraged lawmakers and Americans to discuss ideas and refrain from angry, petty politics.

"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 in a way that wounds," Obama said.

His message came just days after liberals criticized conservatives for creating a negative political climate that helped lead to the shootings.

Liberals criticized former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for using crosshairs of a rifle sight to depict targeted Democratic districts last year, including Rep. Giffords.

However, conservatives responded that Democrats have used similar symbolism in their election strategy.

Palin has also come under fire for accusing the media of "blood libel," a phrase from the 12th century that some Jews feel incites anti-semitism, but others said is now used in a broader context.

The Conservative National Review compiled a list of times the term has been used by members of the media. Yet, Zach Osler, a former friend of accused shooter Jared Loughner told ABC's "Good Morning America" politics and talk radio probably had nothing to do with the shootings.

"He did not watch TV. He disliked the news," Osler said. "He didn't listen to political radio. He didn't take sides. He wasn't on the left. He wasn't on the right."

A CBS News poll revealed most Americans -- 57 percent -- do not believe political tone had anything to do with the attack.

Obama encouraged Americans to rise above politics during this tragic time.

"We may not be able to stop all evil in the world but I know that how we treat each other -- that's entirely up to us," Obama said. "And I believe that for all our imperfections we are full of decency and goodness and that the forces that divide us. They're not as strong as those that unite us."

"Nine-year-old Christina Green, who was killed Saturday, often told her mom, 'We are so blessed,'" he added.

The president encouraged America to live up to Green's expectations by making the nation as good as the young girl imagined it.

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CBN News
Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.