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Take Two: Obama Comments on Civilian Jetliner Shot Down Over Ukraine

5:47 PM, Jul 18, 2014 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Hours after news reports indicated that a Malaysian Airlines jetliner had been shot down over Ukraine, President Obama spoke at a previously scheduled event in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday. "It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy," Obama said of the plane's destruction. He added that "our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers" and then segued to a typically banal and partisan stump speech, which you can watch in full here

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Elizabeth Cromwell

The president joked about how Treasury secretary Jack Lew's signature looks "just like a caterpillar running along the bottom." He talked about the need to build roads and bridges and "rebuild the middle class." He criticized "Republicans in Congress" for "playing politics." He even implied that Republicans lacked a proper "sense of patriotism" that "says we can disagree on issues once in a while, but come on, let’s focus on our country, let’s focus on our people."

Shortly before noon on Friday, President Obama spoke again on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, and his tone was markedly different. "Nearly 300 innocent lives were taken -- men, women, children, infants -- who had nothing to do with the crisis in Ukraine," Obama said at the beginning of his remarks. "Their deaths are an outrage of unspeakable proportions." He spoke at length about what we know happened and Russia's support of violent separatists in Ukraine.

"So now is, I think, a somber and appropriate time for all of us to step back and take a hard look at what has happened," he said. There was nothing particularly stirring or exceptional about the president's remarks on Friday, but at least the tone was appropriate, unlike the remarks he delivered on Thursday.

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