President Obama is preparing for what could be a defining moment in his presidency when he speaks Wednesday at a memorial service in Tucson, Ariz., the site of a shooting rampage that has shaken the nation over both the facts and fiction of the massacre.

The White House has said the speech will focus on the victims, heroes and those in Tucson affected by the alleged assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in critical condition. Six others were killed and 13 besides Giffords were injured. Alleged shooter Jared Loughner so far has been charged with five federal counts of murder and attempted murder. 

The president has already given an indication of his view of the shooting, which took place at a town-hall style meeting outside a Tucson Safeway supermarket.

“In the coming days we’re going to have a lot of time to reflect,” he said Monday during a photo-op with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. “Right now the main thing we’re doing is to offer our thoughts and prayers to those who’ve been impacted, making sure that we’re joining together and pulling together as a country. And as president of the United States, but also as a father, obviously I’m spending a lot of time just thinking about the families and reaching out to them.”

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