Obama on Boston bombings

Obama on Boston bombings - Obama insists federal government 'will get to the bottom of' Boston Marathon bombings, but declines to call attacks an act of terrorism

At the end of a long Monday afternoon that began with a jubilant photo-op with the BCS champion Alabama Crimson Tide football team, a somber President Barack Obama addressed reporters about the bombings that claimed at least two lives -- including that of an eight-year-old boy -- and injured more than 110 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

But it was what he didn't say that may provoke the most discussion: Unlike media outlets including CNN, Fox News and others, Obama didn't utter the 'T' word.

He ignored a reporter's question, shouted after he concluded his prepared remarks, about whether the attacks were 'an act of terrorism.'

'We still do not know who did this or why, and people shouldn't jump to conclusions before we have all the facts,' he said during his speech.

The New York Post has reported that a Saudi man is in custody in a Boston hospital in connection with the bombings.

Is it terror or something else? Obama said the investigation is ongoing, but wouldn't answer that question

Obama's reticence to refer to attacks on American soil as 'terrorist' activities was brought into sharp focus during his 2012 re-election campaign, when Republican challenger Mitt Romney chastised him during a debate for refusing to call the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya an act of terror.

Obama, and backed by debate moderator and CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley, insisted that he had in fact called the attack a terrorist act in a speech during the day following the Benghazi assault.

CBS News correspondent Steve Kroft, however, had interviewed the president on the day he gave that speech and asked him why he 'went out of your way to avoid the use of the word terrorism in connection with the Libya attack.'

Obama responded that it was 'too early to know exactly how this came about [or] what group was involved.'

CBS kept the interview out of public view until the night before Election Day, long after the debate confrontation had cemented in many Americans' minds the idea that Obama never expressed reluctance to declare that 'terrorists' attacked Americans in Benghazi.

A victim of the first explosion is helped on the sidewalk of Boylston Street, after two devices were detonated near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon

Victims were treated at the scene of the first explosion. Hospitals later put the death toll at two -- including an 8-year-old boy -- and the injuries at more than 110. Many of those had amputated limbs

Volunteers, public safety workers and family members comforted victims until paramedics responded. The two blasts near the marathon's finish line were just 12 seconds apart

A source inside the Department of Justice told MailOnline that investigators were considering the possibility that the bombings could be tied to the 1993 government siege on messianic cult leader David Koresh’s compound in Waco, Texas, and the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

Like Monday’s Boston Marathon, both events coincided with Patriots’ Day, an annual observance marking the anniversary of the Revolutionary War’s first battles.

Obama noted the coincidence, calling it 'a day that draws the world to Boston's streets in the spirit of friendly competition.'

But the same DOJ source later said investigators were focused more on examining potential links with unspecified 'foreign nationals.'

Flames engulfed the Branch Davidians' Waco, Texas compound on April 19 - Patriot's Day - in 1993. Eighty-one cultists including leader David Koresh (L) died as federal agents tried to drive them out of the compound

'The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight. And Michelle and I send our deepest thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims in the wake of this senseless loss,' Obama said, while assuring the media and millions of watching Americans that 'the full weight' of the U.S. justice system would be brought to bear.

'Make no mistake: We will get to the bottom of this,' Obama said. 'And we will find out who did this. We'll find out why they did this.'

'Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.'

Obama (L) received a telephone briefing from FBI Director Robert Mueller in the Oval Office on Monday. He's shown with the Lisa Monaco (C), Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough (R)

The president described conversation he had with members of Congress of both major political parties, saying he and lawmakers had 'reaffirmed that on days like this there are nor Republicans and Democrats. We are Americans.'

White House pool reports said FBI Director Robert Mueller and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano briefed the president on 'the active investigation and response' to what some media outlets are calling a terror attack. 

Those briefings included information about how federal authorities are coordinating with state and local officials.

A White House photo showed Obama receiving those briefings via telephone, accompanied by Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.

Obama said from the briefing room podium that he directed Mueller and Napolitano to 'increase security around the United States as necessary.'
Good afternoon, everybody. Earlier today, I was briefed by my homeland security team on the events in Boston. We're continuing to monitor and respond to the situation as it unfolds. And I've directed the full resources of the federal government to help state and local authorities protect our people, increase security around the United States as necessary, and investigate what happened.
The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight. And Michelle and I send our deepest thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims in the wake of this senseless loss.
We don't yet have all the answers. But we do know that multiple people have been wounded, some gravely, in explosions at the Boston Marathon.
I've spoken to FBI Director Mueller and Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano, and they're mobilizing the appropriate resources to investigate and to respond.
I've updated leaders of Congress in both parties, and we reaffirmed that on days like this there are no Republicans or Democrats -- we are Americans, united in concern for our fellow citizens. 
I've also spoken with Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino, and made it clear that they have every single federal resource necessary to care for the victims and counsel the families. And above all, I made clear to them that all Americans stand with the people of Boston.
Boston police, firefighters, and first responders as well as the National Guard responded heroically, and continue to do so as we speak. It's a reminder that so many Americans serve and sacrifice on our behalf every single day, without regard to their own safety, in dangerous and difficult circumstances. And we salute all those who assisted in responding so quickly and professionally to this tragedy.
We still do not know who did this or why. And people shouldn't jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. But make no mistake -- we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this; we'll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.
Today is a holiday in Massachusetts -- Patriots' Day. It's a day that celebrates the free and fiercely independent spirit that this great American city of Boston has reflected from the earliest days of our nation.
And it's a day that draws the world to Boston's streets in a spirit of friendly competition. Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people. I'm supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city. And as they do, the American people will be with them every single step of the way.
You should anticipate that as we get more information, our teams will provide you briefings. We're still in the investigation stage at this point. But I just want to reiterate we will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable.
Thank you very much.
This article originally appeared in : Obama insists federal government 'will get to the bottom of' Boston Marathon bombings, but declines to call attacks an act of terrorism | dailymail.co.uk | By David Martosko | PUBLISHED: 22:33 GMT, 15 April 2013 | UPDATED: 10:13 GMT, 16 April 2013

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