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Obama Addressed Planned Parenthood Shooting & Got It Exactly Right

Taking time away from the COP21 climate change conference in Paris on Tuesday, Obama addressed the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting. Bolder than many media outlets, Obama rightfully referred to the incident as an act of terrorism: “I say this every time we've got one of these mass shootings: this just doesn't happen in other countries. We are rightly determined to prevent terrorist attacks wherever they occur, whether in the United States or with friends and allies like France.” He continued, “In the United States we have the power to do more to prevent what is just a regular process of gun homicides.”

In what appeared to be an unprepared speech, Obama hinted at his own powerlessness to exact real change without cooperation from the Republican-led Congress: “I will continue to present those things that I can do administratively, but at the end of the day, congress, states, local governments... are going to have to act to make sure that we're preventing people who are deranged or have violent tendencies from getting weapons that can magnify the damage that they do.”

The president made gun control the focus of his remarks on the shooting. He only addressed abortion specifically in closing, underscoring that Planned Parenthood offers much more than pregnancy termination (not that there's anything wrong with providing safe, legal abortions): “With respect to Planned Parenthood, I think it’s clear; I’ve said it before: they provide health services to women all across the country. Have for generations. In many cases, it’s the only organization that provides health services to impoverished women.” While he acknowledged that honest debate about abortion can be appropriate, he noted that “How we talk about it– making sure we talk about it factually, accurately, and not demonizing organizations like Planned Parenthood – I think is important.” He didn’t drop the mic after that, but let’s be real, he totally could have.

Image: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images