A mournful President Barack Obama said Sunday that the nation is failing to keep its children safe, pledging that change must come after an elementary-school massacre left 20 children dead.
"What choice do we have?" Obama said. "Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?"
In a vigil for the fallen, in a moment of grief that spread around the world, Obama conceded that none of his words would match the sorrow. But he declared to the community of Newtown: "You are not alone."
For Obama, ending his fourth year in office, it was another sorrowful visit to another community in disbelief. It is the job of the president to be there, to listen and console, to offer help even when the only thing within his grasp is a hug.
The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday elicited horror around the world, soul-searching in the United States, fresh political debate about gun control and questions about the incomprehensible -- what drove the suspect to act.
Privately, Obama told Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy that Friday was the most difficult day of his presidency.
Obama says nation isn't doing enough to protect children, `we will have to change'
President Barack Obama is offering the Connecticut town grappling with the aftermath of a deadly school shooting "the love and prayers of a nation."
The president says he is mindful that mere words cannot match the depth of the sorrow in Newtown, Conn. Twenty children and six adults were killed at an elementary school there Friday.
Obama is telling the families of the victims that they are not alone in their grief. He says people all across the country have wept with them.
The president is speaking at a vigil following his private meetings with the families and first responders.
President Barack Obama has arrived in Newtown, Conn., to console families, thank first responders and speak at a vigil in memory of the 26 teachers and schoolchildren killed during a shooting spree at an elementary school Friday.
This is the fourth trip of Obama's presidency to a grieving city in the aftermath of a mass shooting.
In his remarks, Obama will be addressing not only the residents of Newtown, but also a stunned nation. A White House official said Obama is the primary author of his speech and edited his remarks on the flight to Connecticut with White House speechwriter Cody Keenan.
Keenan helped Obama write his speech last year following the shootings in Tucson, Ariz., that killed six and wounded 13, including Rep. Gabby Giffords.