Obama says of Fla. Teen's shooting death: 'If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon'

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Associated Press

Posted on March 23, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 23 at 11:02 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is using unusually personal terms to speak about the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Florida.

Speaking to reporters at the White House today, Obama said if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin, the teen killed by a neighborhood watch member in an Orlando suburb last month.

The Justice Department and FBI have opened a civil rights investigation into the case and local authorities have convened a grand jury to determine whether to charge the shooter, George Zimmerman. Obama called the incident a "tragedy" and said Martin's parents are right to expect that "every aspect" of the case will be investigated.

The Republican presidential candidates are also weighing in.

Referring to the Florida law that gives people latitude to use deadly force rather than retreat during a fight, Rick Santorum says: "Stand your ground is not doing what this man did."

Newt Gingrich says people should have a right to self-defense, but the question in this case is whether Zimmerman was the instigator.

Mitt Romney calls the shooting a "tragedy," and echoed the president's call for a thorough investigation.

%@AP Links

212-w-35-(Mark Smith, AP White House correspondent, with President Obama)--President Obama is calling the neighborhood watch shooting in Florida a "tragedy" that deserves a full investigation. AP White House Correspondent Mark Smith reports. (23 Mar 2012)

<<CUT *212 (03/23/12)>> 00:35

187-w-31-(Mark Smith, AP White House correspondent, with President Obama)--Weighing in for the first time on the neighborhhood watch shooting in Florida, President Obama says "every aspect" of racially charged case should be investigated. AP White House Correspondent Mark Smith reports. (23 Mar 2012)

<<CUT *187 (03/23/12)>> 00:31

181-a-13-(President Obama, speaking to reporters)-"of the incident"-President Obama says every aspect of the neighborhood watch shooting in Florida should be investigated. (23 Mar 2012)

<<CUT *181 (03/23/12)>> 00:13 "of the incident"

182-a-08-(President Obama, speaking to reporters)-"look like Trayvon"-President Obama says what happened in Florida is a "tragedy" -- and his heart goes out to Trayvon Martin's family. (23 Mar 2012)

<<CUT *182 (03/23/12)>> 00:08 "look like Trayvon"

183-a-12-(President Obama, speaking to reporters)-"this tragedy happened"-President Obama says he's glad both the Feds and the state of Florida are now investigating the case. (23 Mar 2012)

<<CUT *183 (03/23/12)>> 00:12 "this tragedy happened"

184-a-06-(President Obama, speaking to reporters)-"my own kids"-President Obama says if he had a son, that son would look like Trayvon Martin. (23 Mar 2012)

<<CUT *184 (03/23/12)>> 00:06 "my own kids"

213-a-13-(Newt Gingrich, Republican presidential candidate, at campaign stop)-"a grand jury"-Newt Gingrich says he has faith in the judicial system to fairly handle the case of the shooting death of an unarmed, black Florida teenager that has rallied civil rights activists. (23 Mar 2012)

<<CUT *213 (03/23/12)>> 00:13 "a grand jury"

214-a-07-(Newt Gingrich, Republican presidential candidate, at campaign stop)-"he the attacker"-Newt Gingrich says he supports Florida's "stand your ground" law, but there's more to this case than self-defense rights. (23 Mar 2012)

<<CUT *214 (03/23/12)>> 00:07 "he the attacker"

GRAPHICSBANK 1131728: Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton (l-r) parents of Trayvon Martin, teenager fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida, during Million Hoodie March in New York City, graphic element on gray (21 Mar 2012)

<<GRAPHICSBANK 1131728 (03/21/12)>> 2000x1500

APPHOTO WHHG114: President Barack Obama answers a reporter's question about the death of Trayvon Martin, Friday, March 23, 2012, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/ Haraz N. Ghanbari) (23 Mar 2012)

<<APPHOTO WHHG114 (03/23/12)>>

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