President Obama and Republican
challenger Mitt Romney set aside the rising vitriol that has marked
the presidential campaign in recent weeks, in response to a deadly
cinema shooting spree in Colorado.
The Obama campaign said it was pulling all advertising from Colorado television stations as the president rushed back to the White House from what was to have been a day of campaigning in Florida.
Both Obama and Romney took pains to stress that the nation was coming together in the wake of the tragedy, and that it was no time for politics.
"I know many of you came here today for a campaign event," Obama told a crowd in Fort Myers, Florida, at what had been scheduled as a rally, where Obama instead delivered a brief and sombre speech about the shooting.
"I was looking forward to having a fun conversation with you about some really important matters that we face as a country and the differences between myself and my opponent in this election. But this morning, we woke up to news of a tragedy that reminds us of all the ways that we are united as one American family."
Campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Obama decided it was "the appropriate step" to suspend campaigning and focus on mourning the victims. He would be briefed on the investigation from the White House but had already received updates from staff while in Florida.
Obama, who was awakened at 5:26 am (0926 GMT) with with news, about three hours after the shootings, ordered all US flags flown at half staff for five days in honour of those killed.
Romney offered condolences rather than his standard campaign speech in New Hampshire.
"I stand before you today not as a man running for office but as a father and grandfather, a husband, an American," he said. "This is a time for each of us to look into our hearts and remember how much we love one another and how much we love and how much we care for our great country. There's so much love and goodness in the heart of America."
Most Popular Stories
- SEO Traffic Lab Celebrate Wins at Digital Marketing Event 'Internet World 2013' in London
- Social Media Initiatives Should Follow Customers' Lead
- Apple CEO: Offshore Units Not a 'Tax Gimmick'
- U.S. Senate Accuses Apple of Large-scale Tax Avoidance
- UTEP Water Recycling Project Wins Venture Titles
- Marketo Makes a Mint in IPO: Stock Shoots Up More than 50 Percent
- Bieber Booed at Billboard Awards
- Crude Oil Up, Gasoline Down
- Austin Startup Compare Metrics Raises $3.5 Million for Expansion
- Why So Many Top 'Car Guys' Are Actually Women