BOW, N.H.—Hours after a shooter killed a dozen people in a Colorado cinema, Mitt Romney scrubbed a scheduled campaign rally Friday and instead offered his somber condolences and prayers to the victims and their families.
“Our hearts break with the sadness of this unspeakable tragedy. Ann and I join the president and first lady and all Americans in offering our deepest condolences to those whose lives were shattered in a few moments, a few moments of evil in Colorado,” Romney told a few hundred people gathered at a lumber yard here.
“I stand before you today not as a man running for office but as a father and grandfather, a husband, an American. 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.”
Romney, wearing a navy blue suit and blue tie, spoke for four minutes. The trademark campaign banners with slogans such as “Believe in America” or “Obama’s Upside-Down Economy” were gone, leaving a handful of American flags as the backdrop. Before Romney spoke, Father Christian Tutor, an Anglican Catholic priest, led a prayer. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte introduced Romney.
“Joe and I want to offer our thoughts and prayers from the people of New Hampshire to the victims in Aurora, Colo., to their families,” she said, speaking for herself and her husband.
Romney, who has five children and 18 grandchildren, focused on the young victims and the talents and opportunities lost.
“This morning Colorado lost youthful voices which would have brightened their homes, enriched their schools and brought joy to their families,” Romney said. “Our prayer is that the comforter might bring the peace to souls that surpasses our understanding.”
He said the victims and their families are not only being comforted by their neighbors, but by all Americans.
“Grieving and worried families in Aurora are surrounded by love today and not just by those who are with them and holding them in their arms. They can also know they are being lifted up in prayer by people in every part of our great nation,” he said. “Now and in the hard days to come may every one of them feel the sympathy of our whole nation and the comfort of a loving god.”
He urged Americans to come together and focus on one another.
“There will be justice for those responsible. That’s another matter for another day,” Romney said. “Today is a moment to grieve and to remember, to reach out and to help, to appreciate our blessings in life. Each one of us will hold our kids a little closer, linger a bit longer with a colleague or a neighbor, reach out to a family member or a friend. We’ll all spend a little less time thinking about the worries of our day and more time wondering about how to help those who are in need of compassion the most.”
“The answer is we can come together to show our fellow citizens the good heart of America we know and love,” he concluded. “God bless you for being here and sharing together this moment of sorrow and God bless the United States of America.”
Afterward, Romney and Ayotte shook the hand of every person as they left.