They are from different political parties and, before Sunday, they had never met.
But John McKinney, the Republican leader in the Connecticut Senate, got a glimpse of how profoundly last week’s shooting at a Newtown school had shaken President Obama.
“I think his reaction, as all of our reaction [was], ‘these are six- and seven- year old kids…in an elementary school,” McKinney said. ”And that, combined with an accumulation of these mass murders happening in such a short time frame, will change the debate here and in Washington.”
McKinney met Obama when the president travelled to Newtown Sunday night to meet with the families of Friday’s shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
While McKinney wasn’t in the room when Obama spoke with the victims’ families, he could see how the experience impacted the president.
“He’s been touched to the core of who he is as a person by this tragic event,” said McKinney, whose district includes Newtown.
“I thought I was listening to a dad as much as I was listening to a president…he was speaking as a dad who said, ‘I have to stop this from happening again.”’
“We all have to stop this from happening again,” added McKinney, who has backed several gun control efforts at the state Capitol in the past. ”It just so happens he’s in an incredibly unique and powerful position that not all dads are in to stop it from happening.”