Gibbs 'surprised' at pep-rally atmosphere of 'memorial speech'

Here's what Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in response to a question about the campaign rally atmosphere of Obama's memorial speech in Arizona:

I will say that I read the speech several times and thought that there wouldn't be a lot of applause if any. I think many of us thought that. But I think there was a celebration, again, of the lives of those who had been impacted. Not just at that grocery store but throughout the country. And I think that, if that is part of the healing process, then that's a good thing.

So the administration was surprised at the "celebration"?

With its attention to detail and stage production, the Obama administration didn't approve of the blue T-shirts that were handed out to the crowd? The Obama administration didn't approve of the Obama-style "memorial" slogan "Together We Thrive" which was printed on the T-shirts?

In the Tucson Citizen, Cherlyn Gardner Strong blames the media for the pep-rally atmosphere and writes:

The media started calling it . . . some variation of "Obama's Speech", soon after President Obama accepted the invitation to attend what was once billed as a memorial.

As a result, the event somehow morphed into something else. A theme for the event emerged, called: "Together We Thrive: Tucson and America." The theme doesn't include anything about it that evokes a memorial. There's nothing about remembrance, either.

The theme sounds like, well, like a political rally.
The Washington Post described the enthusiasm of the typical attendee before the speech:

Nicole Siegel, a freshman at the University of Arizona who is from Columbia, Md., said she was excited to hear Obama speak.

"I am happy to see he's taking this seriously and isn't just staying in the White House," she said, wearing a light blue T-shirt with a picture of Obama on it.

If Obama had said no to handing out blue T-shirts with campaign-type slogans I wonder if the atmosphere would have been a little more respectful. The slogan, "Together We Thrive," frankly could be used in 2012 for Obama's reelection run. Rather than trying to inspire the crowd, I wonder if the mood would have been a little more solemn if Obama had conducted himself in a low-key manner.

Gibbs said he believes the "celebration" at the memorial setting was part of the healing process. I'd like to know how the family members of the deceased feel about that.

The Obama production "memorial speech" was the equivalent of Obama slapping the Queen of England on the back -- completely tone deaf and inappropriate. It seems that Obama can never resist the urge of being the center of attention, no matter the setting.

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