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December 16, 2012

President Obama meets with families of those slain in Connecticut

Before taking the stage at a vigil, President Obama met Sunday night with the families of the victims of those killed in Friday's Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. Hundreds streamed into Newtown High School for the event, including many elementary school age children, some carrying cuddly toys and teddy bears. Others clutched small stuffed dogs, given out by the Red Cross.

The White House pool report notes several kids were wearing "Sandy Hook School" sweat shirts, others were in their Scout uniforms.

The White House, per custom, declined to release any details of what they said were private meetings with families of the victims, as well as first responders.

The meetings came before Obama was to speak at the vigil. As his motorcade made its way up the hill to the school, reporters noted several homes on the hill were decorated for Christmas, but most were dark.

Before leaving Washington, Obama attended his daughter, Sasha's, dance rehearsal at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda.

Sen. Joe Lieberman spoke with reporters at the Newtown High School, repeating his comments from the Sunday talk shows that he believes there should be a national commission on violence.

"These events are happening more frequently and I worry that if we don't take a thoughtful look at them, we're going to lose the hurt and the anger that we have now," Lieberman said. "And that includes looking at violence in the entertainment culture, mental health services and, of course, gun laws."

He said he also mentioned restoring the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004 -- and tightening background checks.

"If you go into a gun show or you go and buy a gun from some antique dealer, you're not checked at all," he said.


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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