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Police Clear Up Confusion About Obama Letters
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) ―
President Obama had letters of condolences hand-delivered to all three families at the service yesterday.
But confusion over the letters arose because the police spokeswoman only had time to read one of those letters.
And, today, she stepped forward to make sure that everyone knew the president was not singling out any of the three officers.
It was quiet at Pittsburgh Police headquarters this Good Friday -- with flowers standing tribute to the three slain officers -- whose memorial service on Thursday touched the hearts of so many.
"My emotions are still very high. When I get alone, I think about it and I may weep a little, but there's still work to do," says Diane Richard, the spokeswoman for the city police.
Richard played an important role in Thursday's memorial service, reading letters of condolences, including one from President Obama.
Her words on Thursday: "A letter from our commander in chief, President Barack Obama. I will read it for our most senior officer, Officer Kelly."
Richard says she did not mean to suggest in any way that the president only sent a letter to Officer Kelly's family.
"If it was misunderstood what I said, please allow me the time to clarify what I said. The president of the United States sent three letters to all three families, and I chose to read the letter of the most senior officer."
Richard showed KDKA's Jon Delano copies of the President's letters to all three families of officers Kelly, Mayhle, and Sciullo -- although the contents of only the Kelly letter was made public because it was read at the service.
She hopes the public understands the president was not slighting any of the officers.
"They have a personal touch in each letter, but they're basically the same but with a little different twist," she adds.
Reading one of the letters was a last minute decision by Richard when she learned that David Agnew, the White House Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, had brought letters from the president to the families.
"When I was introduced to him and he showed me the letters, he happened to have copies of them in his valise. And I said, 'Oh I would love to read one of these letters.'"
And to save time Richard decided to read just one of the letters, not intending to create any impression the president was ignoring the others.
"In the time allotment we had for the program that we had for the program, it wasn't conducive for me to stand there and read all three letters."
"I chose to read the letter of the most senior officer and that's it. End of story. He acknowledged all three families. All three families got a letter from the President of the United States."
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Posted by Rodger on April 10, 2009 at 03:24 PM | Permalink
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