Obama admitted America is failing in a nation's most basic duty - protecting its citizens

Some are even comparing this speech to the Gettysburg Address.

There is no question President Obama's remarks were powerful last night. He was composed and thoughtful.

It was different in tone from his deeply emotional performance at the White House on Friday afternoon.

Barack Obama arriving at the vigil in Newtown, Connecticut Credit: Reuters

Last night, the President made a point both startling and obvious: America is failing.

Failing in a nation's most basic duty, protecting its citizens.

I do not know if President Obama will win the fight to tighten America's gun laws. But this morning it is clear he will try.

He faces formidable opposition from those who regard gun rights as central to their identity and to the constitution.

Obama is already facing an epic fight with Congressional Republicans over spending and tax.

Now he must steady himself for a war on two fronts.

Yes, this is a victorious and liberated President who has just won re-election. But does he really want to engage in a full-blooded confrontation that would be a massive diversion from his stated second-term priorities?

A woman covers her face as she watches President Obama speak on a television in Newtown, Connecticut Credit: Reuters

Last night we heard his answer.

Obama may not win the fight but he wants to go down in history as the man who tried. As the President put it, massacres like this must never be seen as routine.

If ever there is a time for reform, it is now.

If ever there is a place to launch the effort, it is here.

But the really depressing fact is this: a Colorado gun store said that Saturday was its busiest day ever. One Congressman has urged some teachers to be armed.

The question is whether the tragedy of Sandy Hook has altered public opinion. Could it have taken the heart-breaking loss of 20 children to make it fashionable in America to support tighter gun laws?