At an emotionally charged memorial service held in Arizona yesterday for victims of the Tucson shooting massacre, Barack Obama delivered a rousing speech to a 12,000 strong crowd that may be remembered as a watershed moment in the flailing President’s career.

Calling for calm and civility in the wake of the horrific incident in which a lone gunman killed six people and wounded 13 others in an assassination attempt on Democrats congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords, who is currently recovering in hospital after being shot in the head, Obama’s speech has generated widespread praise from both sides of politics as well as some inevitable criticism.

It provides a stark comparison to Sarah Palin’s divisive “blood libel” video address in which Palin earlier this week defended herself against accusations that provocative political rhetoric may have incited the Tuscon killings.

High profile conservative blogger Ed Morrissey was one of many staunch Obama critics who applauded the President’s address, calling it “what may be the finest moment of his presidency … he deserves credit and gratitude for his leadership at a point in time where the nation needed it, and I’m happy to give him both.”

Watch the speech in full below.

Peter Fray

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