Behind the somber responses of both President Obama and Mitt Romney to the Colorado shootings, pure politics was at play. Not in the statements the candidates made, but in how the carnage jolted the campaign.
The understandable decisions by both Obama and Romney to suspend campaign activities effectively froze the race. And it happened at a time when Obama, despite being hammered for his, "You didn't build that" take on free enterprise, had the upper hand. For all the defense Obama had to play this past week, Romney was struggling under the weight of his tax returns, as fellow Republicans piled on, making that issue even worse for Romney.
The key will be when the campaign resumes and the tone the candidates strike. Romney is about to get screwed by his schedule, with a weeklong trip to Europe and Israel removing him from the trail. Can he get back into attack mode before he jets off without seeming insensitive? Watch for Obama to keep playing the role of national daddy, continuing to worry about sending his daughters to the movies and hoping that Romney never releases any more taxes.
UPDATE: Daddy's going to Denver.