Bow, N.H. – Mitt Romney's campaign stop in New Hampshire on Friday had a somber tone as he spoke only of the Colorado shooting and its victims.
"Our hearts break with the sadness of this unspeakable tragedy," Romney said.
Romney spoke for under five minutes, and his only mention of President Obama was to say that he and his wife Ann stand with the President and First Lady in mourning.
“I stand before you not as a man running for office, but as a father and grandfather, a husband, an American," Romney said. "It's time for us to look deep into our hearts and remember how much we love each other and how much we love our great country."
He said now is time to pray for the wounded to recover and that those grieving "will know the goodness of God." He added, "There will be justice for those responsible, but that's another matter for another day."
For now, he said, “Each one of us will hold our kids a little closer. 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 most. The answer is we can come together, show our fellow citizens the good heart of the America we know and love.’’
The event began with a prayer led by the Very Rev. Christian Tutor of All Saints Anglican Church in Concord. Tutor said he received a call about 30 minutes before the event, as the Romney campaign "wanted to change the whole tenor" of the speech.
"We are in mourning," Tutor said, leading the crowd of 200 in a prayer for the victims of the Colorado shooting.
Romney's campaign stop at Coastal Forest Products in Bow was originally supposed to focus on the importance of small businesses, and to counter President Obama and a recent comment he made about businesses. Romney appeared with U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, who is mentioned as a possible running mate.
Ayotte spoke briefly, saying "we come before you with heavy, heavy hearts," and offering the thoughts and prayers of the people of New Hampshire to the victims in Colorado.
"To their families, and to those that were injured, we wish them a speedy recovery," she said. "That’s why we’re here today. To come together as a community and to offer our collective condolences and prayers.”
When Romney was finished speaking, he, Ayotte and Tutor stayed to greet each of the people in the crowd as they exited the event.
One woman was overheard grumbling that she was "disappointed" with Romney's speech. Another shouted, "Well done, Governor!"
Most of those attending the event said Romney did the right thing by focusing his speech on the Colorado shootings.
Congressman Charles Bass, R-NH, noted that President Obama also cancelled a campaign event in Florida.
"These horrific incidents are startling and shocking to the nation," he said. "It's good for America for our leaders to take a moment to reflect upon it. I think he made the right decision."
"I think it just shows the sensitivity of this man," said Don Sweet of Penacook. "People don't get to see that side of him."
His wife, Donna Sweet, agreed. "I think it was a perfect way to do it," she said. "It was well worth the wait."