White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that the White Houes was not responsible for choosing a basketball arena, as opposed to a church or a smaller auditorium that might be more conducive to a solemn event, for Wednesday's night's memorial service in Tucson, Ariz.
The McKale Memorial Center, an athletics facility at the University of Arizona, was packed with a reported 14,000 people, who repeatedly broke out in cheers and screams of a sort not ordinarily associated with a memorial service.
Gibbs said the White House did not play a role in choosing the venue for the memorial. A university spokesperson told CNSNews.com that the venue was picked after President Barack Obama confirmed he would be attending.
Obamaís speech lasted 33 minutes 44 seconds and was interrupted for applause 51 times. The tone of the applause at times included shouts and whistles similar to a political rally.
The speech was compared to earlier speeches given by presidents during a time of national crisis, such as President Ronald Reaganís speech after the Challenger space shuttle explosion in 1986 and President Bill Clintonís speech after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
Reaganís speech was delivered from the Oval Office and lasted less than three minutes.