President Obama, tired and clearly emotional, made another pitch for Congress to act on new gun restrictions Monday evening in Connecticut. His task was nearly impossible on its face: to translate the fury and urgency of the boisterous crowd in front of him into a wave that could sweep away opposition in Congress.
Speaking from Hartford, the president was introduced by Nicole Hockley, a mother of two sons who attended Sandy Hook Elementary. The younger was killed in the shooting on December 14. Her husband Dan by her side, Hockley explained how she and other advocates insisted on change in Connecticut's state capitol. They won, she insisted, with a combination of love and logic -- the same combination that might convince Congress. "Do something before our tragedy becomes your tragedy," Hockley said.
The president came out to a huge ovation, responding to shouts of "I love you" with "I love you, too," as he usually does. But he clearly lacked the energy he showed on the campaign trail or during his 2011 call for action after the Giffords shooting. At times slightly slurring his speech, often stumbling over words, the president's demeanor was a strong reminder of his investment in the issue. Reminding the audience that he'd once said the massacre at Newtown was the worst day of his presidency, he indicated that a day on which new gun reforms failed would "be a tough day for me, too."