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Sandy Hook shooting: Obama vows to use power of presidency to thwart massacres (+video)

At a prayer service in Newtown, Conn., Sunday night, President Obama said he would gather law enforcement and mental health officials to address the kind of gun violence that struck Sandy Hook Elementary School. 'We can't tolerate this anymore,' he said.

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President Obama told a prayer vigil in massacre-devastated Newtown, Conn., Sunday evening that "I'll use whatever power this office holds … [to prevent] more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have?"

Coming after what Mr. Obama has said was his most difficult day in office when a gunman on Friday killed 20 first graders and six school professionals in this quiet, close-knit New England town, the promise rang out as perhaps the boldest of his presidency as he vowed to head up a national soul-searching effort likely to involve examination of school security, mental health policy, and gun laws.

"We can't accept events like this as routine," Obama said after an emotional interfaith vigil. "Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that politics are too hard, are we prepared to say that such violence visited upon our children year after year is the price of our freedom?"

When tragedy strikes: a prayerful response to the shootings in Connecticut

The vigil marked the fourth time Obama has mourned victims of mass shootings. They include shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, Tucson, Arizona, and, earlier this year, Aurora, Colorado. Obama painted a picture of a country grieving for innocent children, first responders who came upon a horrific scene, and the parents and relatives left behind.

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