WASHINGTON – President Obama on Monday delivered an inaugural address that was filled with optimism and themes of equality and progressive policy. But he also addressed the nation’s gun lobby in a series of deliberate, carefully worded sentences that occupied an important place in the speech.
“Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm,” Obama said during the last five minutes of his approximately 20 minute-speech, as his oratory was building to a crescendo. The president has been working on this speech since early December, according to aides, carefully crafting each sentence, transition, and phrase.
The massacre of 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Conn., a month ago traumatized the nation and galvanized support for stronger gun control laws. After mentioning Newtown, Obama continued, “Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness.”
Obama’s reference to Newtown and then a debate over the definition of “liberty” seemed to imply that the president’s words were directed at the heated debate over gun rights currently sweeping the nation.
Over the past two decades, the U.S. gun lobby, led by the National Rifle Association (NRA), has spent million of dollars on campaigns aimed at convincing the public and members of Congress that any proposed legislation designed to…