Obamas spent 45 minutes at UMC - CBS 5 - KPHO

Obamas spent 45 minutes at UMC

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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs provided a rundown of President Obama's trip to Tucson:

The president and Mrs. Obama spent about 45 minutes at University Medical Center. They visited a total of five patients who were victims of Saturday's attack, including Rep. Giffords and two of her staffers, Ron Barber and Pam Simon, plus two others who were not identified.

They were led on the tour by Dr. Peter Rhee. A White House physician was part of the advance team for the hospital. A breakdown of the hospital tour follows, below.

We arrived at the McKale Center at just before 5 p.m. POTUS and FLOTUS are meeting privately with 13 people who are family members of the deceased. With them are AG Holder, Sens. McCain and Kyl, and Rep. Barrasso. They may be meeting with other family members after this group.

Here is the breakdown of their visit (all times local):

  • 4:06 to 4:07 p.m.: They arrive on the ICU, on the second floor of the hospital and greet doctors, nurses and staff near Giffords' room
  • 4:07 to 4:16 p.m.: They visit with Giffords and her husband. He said he had no information on her condition or whether she was able to participate in the visit.
  • 4:16 to 4:21 p.m. They visit with patient #2 (he did not say whether this was one of the staffers or one of the unidentified patients)
  • 4:22 to 4:23 p.m. They greeted doctors, nurses and staff
  • 4:23 to 4:28 p.m. They visit with patient #3
  • 4:28 to 4:36 p.m. They walk through hospital and greet personnel and take several photos
  • 4:36 to 4:39 p.m. They visit with patient #4
  • 4:39 to 4:40 p.m. They greet doctors, nurses and staff
  • 4:40 to 4:45 p.m. They visit with patient #5
  • 4:45 to 4:49 p.m. They walk through the hospital, shaking hands, and go to the first floor
  • 4:49 to 4:51 p.m. They meet with about 20 people on the trauma team that received the victims on Saturday.


After his first visit with a group of families of the victims of the shooting, the president visited three other rooms.

In the second room, Obama saw people who were injured in the attack and had been discharged, plus members of their families, a total of eight people.

In the third room, the president saw staff of Rep Giffords and their families, a group of between 50 and 60 people.

In the fourth room, the president saw first responders and families of some of those who acted heroically in the incident - about 20  people.

Towards the end, Giffords staffer Pam Simon, who the President visited in the hospital, arrived at the event backstage and joined the Giffords staff to applause for a photo with the President and First Lady, Gibbs said.

This set of visits ended at 5:51 p.m..

As the start of the memorial service approached, the crowd cheered and applauded as central figures in the shooting drama appeared on the scoreboard screen in the arena.

The mood seemed fairly light before the start of proceedings.

Trauma surgeon Dr Peter Rhee smiled as he saw his face on the screen, and someone put an arm over his shoulder in a hug.

Outspoken Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who called for an end to vitriolic political rhetoric, waved.

The aide that ran to the side of Giffords as shots rang out, Daniel Hernandez, saw his face on the screen, and looked solemn and sad.

Representative James Clyburn also got a cheer and a round of applause. And retired justice Sandra Day ‘O Connor laughed and waved as she appeared on the screen. Senator John McCain got polite applause. Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi got prolonged clapping. Former Arizona governor and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano also got loud applause with a few members of the audience cheering.

Various genres of vocal music filled the arena in the warm up. A male and a female singer offered  a version of  "Unforgettable."   The Nat King Cole song.

University of Arizona officials said that the McKale Center has reached its 14,000 strong capacity and an overflow crowd was gathering in nearby Arizona Stadium.

When the President and the First Lady entered, a huge cheer rang out and some screams, and the crowd was on its feet.

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