How a president responds to a crisis defines him. President Obama has shown how upset he was after the murder of abortion Dr. George Tiller and after the attack on the Holocaust Museum. But when it came to the Ft. Hood shootings, the president twice gave the incident a limited response ...devoting little more than 4 minutes over two separate appearances to the 13 dead and 30 wounded.
In the Tiller case, the president was "shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning." In the case of the museum attack, Obama was "shocked and saddened by today's shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum."
But when it came to the horrendous Ft. Hood shootings, the term "shocked" was nowhere to be found. Instead, the initial response was shoehorned into comments he made opening the White House Tribal Nations Conference. First there were a couple applause lines to Native Americans and Obama's "shout out to that Congressional Medal of Honor winner," who appears not to have won the medal. (Joe Medicine Crow won the Medal of Freedom -- the nation's highest civilian honor.)
Then the president addressed the shooting. While he called the incident "horrible" and a "tragedy" and urged "prayers," the response seemed understated compared to the other incidents. Then, in true Obama fashion, he did manage to make the shootings at least in part about him. "I want all of you to know that as commander in chief, that there's no greater honor but also no greater responsibility for me than to make sure that the extraordinary men and women in uniform are properly cared for and that their safety and security when they are at home is provided for us."
Two minutes and 39 seconds later he was done and without even taking a breath back to talking about the Native American event. Nowhere in his speech or his remarks the next day did he even acknowledge that the attacker was a Muslim. In his statement after the museum attack, he correctly criticized "anti-Semitism and prejudice" but made no mention of religion in the latest incident.
The Nov. 6 appearance took up just 1 minute 30 seconds and this time it was paired with his remarks on the bad unemployment numbers. In all, he spent 4 minutes 9 seconds to address the attack on 43 Americans ...less than 6 seconds per person.
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum and he can be seen on Foxnews.com's "Strategy Room." He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.
Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.