Obama on Mass Shooting: 'It's About How We Choose to Treat One Another'

By Susan Jones | July 20, 2012 | 11:13 AM EDT

People gather outside Gateway High School in Aurora, Colorado, where witness were brought for questioning on Friday, July 20, 2012 in Denver. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

(CNSNews.com) - "My daughters go the movies. What if Malia and Sasha had been in the theater?" President Obama said at an abbreviated campaign stop in Fort Myers, Fla. on Friday.

Speaking of the violence that killed at least 12 people and injured many more in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, Obama talked about the fragility of life: "Our time here is limited and it is precious. And what matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it's not the trivial things which so often consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately, it's about how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another."

Obama's solemnity was in marked contrast to the crowd's enthusiasm. His supporters seized any opportunity to cheer for him.

Obama led the noisy crowd in a moment of silence, not only for the Aurora victims, but "for all the victims of less publicized acts of violence that plague our communities every single day."

He then urged his supporters to "keep the people of Aurora in your hearts and minds today." He asked the Lord to bring comfort to all those affected by the shooting, then he ended his campaign trip to return to Washington.

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"I'm so grateful that all of you are here," Obama told the crowd. "I am so moved by your support. But there are going to be other days for politics. This, I think, is a day for prayer and reflection."

In a statement issued earlier Friday, Obama said he and Michelle were "shocked and saddened" by the "horrific and tragic" shooting.

"As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors," Obama said.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney -- with whom Obama is engaged in a bitter election battle -- said in a statement that he and his wife Ann were "deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence" that led to the loss of life and injuries.

Romney said they were praying for the families and loved ones of the victims "during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice."

Obama was in Florida at the time of the shooting. The White House says Obama was informed of the shooting by his Homeland Security Adviser, John Brennan, at 5:26 a.m. EDT.