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Branding the Tucson massacre: “Together We Thrive” in white and blue; Updated: Liveblogging the bizarre pep rally; Gov. Brewer booed; in sum: right speech, too late, boneheaded venue (WOOT!)

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 12, 2011 06:21 PM

President Obama used to preach that there was no “Red America” and no “Blue America,” just one America.

But tonight at the memorial for the Tucson massacre victims, it will be a sea of blue as the White House unveils the “Together We Thrive” logo and slogan.

Yes, the Tucson massacre is being branded:

All the University of Arizona buses in Tucson have been flashing the slogan on their digital signs.

Attendees at the memorial tonight report that they are being handed out the blue and white t-shirts as they enter the venue.

A reader in attendance tells me via Twitter that volunteers will be wearing red-and-white shirts. He’s going to try and upload a photo.

Here is a photo of the blue and white t-shirts being laid out at the stadium for tonight.

And here is a screenshot from the Arizona Republic of more volunteers setting out tonight’s costume props:

Will there be giant foam fingers and blue cotton candy, too?

Isn’t the churning of the instant messaging machine a bit, well, unseemly?

Can’t the Democrat political stage managers give it a break just once?

Update: As noted above, the University of Arizona announced the Together We Thrive event — and a few readers write in to say that the campus initiated the logo/campaign. Given U of A president Robert Shelton’s embarrassing, thinly-veiled partisan cheerleading for Obama tonight, it may indeed be a 100 percent-campus-initiated campaign. Given the Obama White House’s meticulous attention to stage prop details, however, I would say the odds of involvement by Axelrod/Plouffe & Co. are high.

***

Question: In the spirit of unity and thriving, will all the prog cities and counties that declared economic war on Arizona over SB1070 repeal their boycotts now?

Reminder of the local governments that declared boycotts against Arizona:

• Amherst (Mass.)

• Austin City Council • Berkeley, Calif. • Bloomington, Ind.

• Boston. • Burlington, Vt.

• Columbus, Ohio.

• Cook County, Ill.

• El Paso (city and county).

• Gallup, N.M.

• Hartford, Conn.

• Los Angeles (city and county).

• Oakland.

• Richmond, Calif.

• Sacramento

• San Pablo, Calif.

• St. Paul, Minn.

• Santa Monica, Calif.

• San Francisco (non-binding resolution).

• Seattle.

• West Hollywood, Calif. • The Oxnard City (Calif.) City Council on July 20 decided not to take a stand against Arizona’s new immigration law, despite pleas from dozens of residents urging council members to at least condemn the law. The mayor and two council members said they will instead consider a symbolic resolution.

***

The memorial is livestreaming here. Program starts at 8pm Eastern.

A few screenshots…John McCain and Eric Holder kibbitzing…

Nancy Pelosi looks…happy…

Volunteer getting his photo taken with Pelosi:

Update 8:03pm Eastern Obama enters stadium to wild applause. Opening music: Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.

Native American gives rambling speech while holding a feather. His remarks are frequently interrupted by whoops and cheers. He gives a shout-out to his son serving in Afghanistan. Brags about his ethnic Mexican background. Babbles about two-legged and four-legged creatures and the feminine energy that comes from Mother Earth.

Mercy.

More whoops and hollers for the National Anthem singer.

More whoops and hollers for the University of Arizona president.

8:28pm Eastern: Intern Daniel Hernandez, who was by Rep. Giffords’ side on Saturday and acted courageously to stanch the bleeding from her head wound, gives an excellent speech paying tribute to the heroes.

Gov. Brewer takes the stage to polite applause and pays tribute to the victims. The shooting “pierced our sense of well-being.” Arizona’s hope “will not be shredded by one madman’s act of darkness.”

Brewer brings reverence and sobriety to the event, God bless her: We will go forward “in prayer, unbending and unbowed.”

And immediately, the sobriety is broken by massive whoops and hollers for Janet Napolitano.

Just. Gross.

After reading Isaiah 40, more whoops and hollers for Napolitano.

And now, Arizona-bashing Attorney General Eric Holder, reading 2nd letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

8:42pm Eastern U of A president intro’ing Obama. Cheers, whoops, shout-outs. Ear-splitting applause as he heads to podium.

Audience screaming “WE LOVE YOU!”

People still cheering as he starts his remarks.

Obama’s tribute to victims calms the crowd down somewhat.

8:56pm Eastern President announces that Rep. Giffords opened her eyes for the first time since the shooting. Very moving.

And now…for What It All Means…Obama addresses “discourse”

But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.

Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job, “when I looked for light, then came darkness.” Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.

For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind.

So yes, we must examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future.

But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.

***

9:16pm Eastern Obama using Christina Green’s memory to rouse America “to live up to” our children’s dreams and expectations.

“If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today.”

Massive applause, whoops as he finishes.

Choir sings “Simple Gifts” — a rare moment of solace in the program.

***

Bottom line:

Speeches and leadership are not the same thing.

Obama delivered one tonight, but failed at the other over the past three days as Pima County Sheriff Dupnik, Democrat Party leaders, and media abettors poisoned the public square with the very vitriol the president now condemns.

Right speech. Too late. Awful, awful venue.

***

Terrific: Via Instapundit, Politico reports that Obama’s remarks about federal judge John Roll undermine federal charges against Loughner for his murder.

***

Last update: I didn’t trust my ears, but the NYTimes confirms that there were some boos when Gov. Brewer spoke.

Disgraceful.

Even as it began, some conservative commentators were posting comments criticizing the memorial service for being overly partisan and more like a pep rally, and there were some boos in the hall when Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, spoke. Those reactions would have been hard to imagine, say, in the days after the Oklahoma City bombing.

Video here.

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