President Obama's words touch people. He weaves them with sensitivity, expresses them intelligently, and when he speaks, his facial expression is that of someone who is determined and means every sentence.
But this week, when he stood before the mourners and survivors of the Newtown massacre, it was one of those moments when an entire nation expected something more of him. Not just the right words, but actions as well. And in this test Obama failed.
He made no specific mention of the burning issue in America: The unbearable easiness with which guns are sold. The president did not promise supervision and did not swear to get these terrifying weapons of war off the streets. He did not dare challenge his political rivals. Obama preferred to speak like a poet instead of committing like a leader.
At the very least, Obama should have declared that he would issue a presidential interim order banning the sale of automatic and semi-automatic rifles. But he preferred not to anger anyone or polarize the debate.
As the president was landing in Connecticut, the annual gun show was being held in Philadelphia, just 155 miles away. The organizers said sales reached a record high.
America will never forget the tears Obama shed when he addressed the nation just hours after the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary. At that moment, Obama became the father of the nation, not only its president. He cried with it.
But Obama was not elected to be the nation's sentimental leader. He was elected so that he would change the reality, and there are moments in life when words alone are not powerful enough.