By Kevin Liptak, CNN
(CNN) – President Barack Obama, speaking Friday at a modified campaign event in Florida, urged a crowd of supporters to set aside politics on a day when the nation’s attention was focused on a deadly shooting at a movie theater in Colorado.
“I know many of you came here today for a campaign event,” Obama said told the crowd in Fort Myers. “I was looking forward to having a fun conversation with you about some really important matters we face as a country, and the differences between myself and my opponent in this election. But this morning, we woke up to news of a tragedy that reminds us of all the ways that we are united as one American family.”
Obama was on the second day of a campaign swing through Florida, a key battleground in November’s general election. He was informed of Friday’s shooting by his counterterrorism adviser John Brennan early in the morning.
Obama’s campaign said Friday it was canceling the second of two campaign events following the shooting, which took place at a midnight screening of the latest installment of the Batman film franchise. The campaign said Obama would return to the White House following the Fort Myers rally.
Vice President Joe Biden and first lady Michelle Obama also both cancelled scheduled campaign events Friday. The campaign of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney said it would comment on the shooting at an event in New Hampshire.
On Friday, Obama invoked his own children, saying the Colorado incident reminded him of the importance of family bonds.
“My daughters go to the movies. What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater, as so many of our kids do every day? Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to hug our girls a little tighter tonight, and I’m sure you will do the same with your children,” the president said. “But for those parents who may not be so lucky, we have to embrace them and let them know we will be there for them as a nation.”
Obama said one message to take from the Colorado shooting was a “reminder that life is very fragile.”
“Our time here is limited and it is precious,” Obama continued. “And what matters at the end of day is not the small things, it’s not the trivial things which so often consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately it’s how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another.”
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Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for the latest on this developing story.