Obama defends giving budget speech in rampage's aftermath

"We don't have a budget that's passed … And I think it's very important for us to understand the urgency that we need to see out of Congress to go ahead and keep this recovery going, put people back to work, make sure that we're building the middle class and providing ladders for people who are willing to work hard to get into the middle class."

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Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said earlier Tuesday that the president's decision to go ahead with the speech was "bizarre."

"We were pretty close to that area, and the kids were locked in the schools and it was a sort of bizarre response [from the president],” Priebus said in a radio interview with Dom Giordano. “I am not on the show to get into that, but I would just echo your comments that it was a very strange afternoon to say the least.”

In the interview with Telemundo, Obama also said the nation did not have to be condemned to live in a country where mass shootings became routine.

"I do get concerned that this becomes a ritual that we go through every three, four months, where we have these horrific mass shootings. Everybody expresses understandable horror. We all embrace the families and and obviously our thoughts and prayers are with those families right now as they're absorbing this incredible loss," Obama said. "And yet we're not willing to take some basic actions."

The president said that ultimately, Congress would need to take action to prevent future gun violence.

"I've taken steps that are within my control," he said. "The next phase now is for Congress to go ahead and move."