President Obama on Newtown Shooting: 'We Must Change'

Shaken Obama asks if we are doing enough to keep our children safe, but will Washington act?
3:00 | 12/17/12

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Transcript for President Obama on Newtown Shooting: 'We Must Change'
-- horrific events that unfolded -- sandy hook elementary have not only shattered a small town but ushered in a moment of national reckoning. Last night President Obama gave an emotional speech at a memorial honoring the victims saying that the violence must stop. But will Washington respond when more than words here's ABC's Jake Tapper. It was a trip he never want to -- to deliver a speech. He never wanted to write. President Obama arrived in. Newtown Connecticut under a cloud of cold rain but inside the high school where he met with the victims' families he tried to bring some -- And after an interfaith service the president told Newtown. But the nation grieves with back. Whatever portion. Of sadness that we can share were due to ease. -- -- -- We will gladly -- -- you are not all. But this is a community consumed by grief and there were no words to comfort those weeping when. Jessica you've listed the names of the slain children those beautiful little kid says he referred to them on Friday. -- -- It was heart wrenching to sit in that room to hear the first hand degree. Not just the weeping so many of us as Americans and -- parents have experienced but. The real anguish the devastation. But we as a nation. We are left with some hard questions. And a president struggling to argue that some meaning will come from at all. Those close to the president say he's been hit hard emotionally -- -- tragedy the father of two young girls connected with the parents' pain. In a very personal way. Can we honestly say there were doing enough. To keep our children. All of them -- -- -- and if we're honest with ourselves. The answers no but now the rubber meets the road. When he referred to our freedom was he referring to. -- right -- we obviously have a society that. Is one based on loss. But it is a free society that. Creates a balance between. The laws that we must abide and the freedoms that we enjoy. And those Americans turning to Washington DC today in their grief for answers as to what they can do what's a sunny eighty thank you. Not hearing answers from White House today. You name one thing the president has done in the last four years to help remove weapons of war from our streets. You know there's no question -- that the scourge of gun violence is a problem that it. Has not sufficiently then addressed. In other words as which is now are you go there appears right now to be a moment. With -- stalwarts such as West Virginia democratic senator Joseph mansion who fired a -- And environmental regulations and a campaign and now sounding a bit more compromise. I don't know anyone in this forty -- arena. There goes out with an assault rifle -- I don't know anybody that needs thirty rounds and click to go -- And then there's the mental health component. The White House points out that obamacare increased access to mental health care for millions of Americans but. Access to those services is worse than for other kinds of services. And the National Alliance on Mental Illness reports. The during the recession. States cut almost two billion dollars in their budgets for mental health treatment at Newtown high school Sunday teachers left a message on a classrooms white -- thanking the president in this. Picture -- tweeted your in our thoughts and prayers the president wrote back. And for now. That will have to do. This is Jake Tapper for Nightline at the White House. This week Nightline will be dead including its broadcasts of the search for solutions in the wake of tragedy as we remember these -- -- lives lost its sandy -- elementary. Good -- America.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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