Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Thursday, December 14, 2017

Josh Dubois - (Obama) wanted to meet with the families of the victims and then offer words of comfort to the country at a (Newtown) interfaith memorial service. We prepared seven or eight classrooms for the families of the slain children and teachers, two or three families to a classroom, placing water and tissues and snacks in each one. Honestly, we didn't know how to prepare; it was the best we could think of. The families came in and gathered together, room by room. Many struggled to offer a weak smile when we whispered, "The president will be here soon." A few were visibly angry -- so understandable that it barely needs to be said -- and were looking for someone, anyone, to blame. Mostly they sat in silence. I went downstairs to greet President Obama when he arrived, and I provided an overview of the situation. "Two families per classroom ... The first is ... and their child was ... The second is ... and their child was ... We'll tell you the rest as you go."

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The president took a deep breath and steeled himself, and went into the first classroom. And what happened next I'll never forget.

Person after person received an engulfing hug from our commander in chief. He'd say, "Tell me about your son. . . . Tell me about your daughter," and then hold pictures of the lost beloved as their parents described favorite foods, television shows, and the sound of their laughter. For the younger siblings of those who had passed away -- many of them two, three, or four years old, too young to understand it all -- the president would grab them and toss them, laughing, up into the air, and then hand them a box of White House M&M's, which were always kept close at hand. In each room, I saw his eyes water, but he did not break.

And then the entire scene would repeat -- for hours. Over and over and over again, through well over a hundred relatives of the fallen, each one equally broken, wrecked by the loss. After each classroom, we would go back into those fluorescent hallways and walk through the names of the coming families, and then the president would dive back in, like a soldier returning to a tour of duty in a worthy but wearing war. We spent what felt like a lifetime in those classrooms, and every single person received the same tender treatment. The same hugs. The same looks, directly in their eyes. The same sincere offer of support and prayer.

And the funny thing is -- President Obama has never spoken about these meetings. Yes, he addressed the shooting in Newtown and gun violence in general in a subsequent speech, but he did not speak of those private gatherings. In fact, he was nearly silent on Air Force One as we rode back to Washington, and has said very little about his time with these families since. It must have been one of the defining moments of his presidency, quiet hours in solemn classrooms, extending as much healing as was in his power to extend. But he kept it to himself -- never seeking to teach a lesson based on those mournful conversations, or opening them up to public view.

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Don't ever forget what a true President looks like and how he (so far) responds to the nation under his charge in its most difficult and tragic moments.

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2017-12-14 06:42 PM | Reply

Damn it Tony, this made me cry. The Newtown shooting really hit me hard at the time, (I grew up near by), the age of the victims, the senselessness of it. And of course, Obama handled the victim's families with class.

#2 | Posted by truthhurts at 2017-12-14 08:11 PM | Reply

Damn it Tony, this made me cry.

Me too. It was hard to edit the intro because so many personal feelings went into the former staff person's narrative, and the anguish we all felt had to be amplified for the then-POTUS because of his station and obligation to all Americans to try and make sense out of senseless tragedy. I can't imagine the personal strength it took to do what he did, but I also can't imagine how he made each family and its members feel when the President personally grieved with them and celebrated the lives of those who were lost.

This story has made me take a vow to never mention the name of our current POTUS when discussing the other sane, patriotic men who formerly held the office and even in their flaws understood "E Pluribus Unum" instead of "Dewey Cheatem and Howe".

#3 | Posted by tonyroma at 2017-12-14 09:23 PM | Reply

It is taking a great deal of effort on my part to not mention certain people's names in this thread. This should be about Obama's actions and the comfort he bestowed on the poor people.

#4 | Posted by truthhurts at 2017-12-14 09:38 PM | Reply

I think obama was very presidential especially with how he handled Newtown.

I shudder to think how trump would attempt that.

#5 | Posted by eberly at 2017-12-14 09:46 PM | Reply

WTF would you expect him to do ebe? Are you one of those 'never Trumpers'?

#6 | Posted by Sniper at 2017-12-16 05:55 PM | Reply

How many families of the Vegas massacre did the dotard comfort?

#7 | Posted by bored at 2017-12-16 06:56 PM | Reply

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