It’s one of the most difficult challenges any president faces: to heal the country after tragedy strikes.

President Reagan did it after the Challenger explosion. President Clinton, after the Oklahoma City bombing. In the same spirit, President Obama rose to the occasion last night in Tucson, Ariz.

The people of Tucson — and, indeed, all Americans — were hungry last night for consolation, resolution and inspiration. And President Obama delivered all three.

He mourned the loss of those who died and prayed for the survivors. He talked about the heroes of the day, not the killer. And he challenged us — not to forget our differences — but to debate them in a way that would make us all proud to be Americans.

It was one of the most powerful speeches I’ve heard any president give. Like the Gettysburg Address in its lasting message. And it was just what Americans wanted and needed to hear.

What a contrast with the sickening, self-serving video released the same day by the dropout governor of Alaska.

In his remarks, President Obama expressed the hope that some good will come out of the tragedy in Tucson. If we’re lucky, one good thing will be the end of the already-too-long political career of Sarah Palin. She can make plenty of money at Fox News. That’s where she belongs, not with the rest of America.

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