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Movie theater rampage shakes up presidential campaign

President Barack Obamspeaks campaign event Prime Osborn ConventiCenter Jacksonville Fla. Thursday July 19 2012. Obamis spending two days Floridcampaigning. (AP

President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at the Prime Osborn Convention Center in Jacksonville, Fla., Thursday, July 19, 2012. Obama is spending two days in Florida campaigning. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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Updated: July 20, 2012 1:08PM

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The deadly shooting spree in Colorado consumed the presidential campaign Friday, sidetracking a bitter political contest with a tragedy that at least temporarily brought the candidates together in common purpose.

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney altered their campaign schedules to address the killings. Both issued statements of condolences, calling for prayer and unity in the aftermath of the overnight bloodshed at a suburban Denver movie theater.

Obama canceled an appearance near Orlando, Fla., and was returning to Washington ahead of schedule. He was to speak about the tragedy in Fort Myers, Fla., during an abbreviated appearance. Romney, too, was to address the matter at a previously scheduled campaign event in New Hampshire. He canceled some media interviews.

Obama was notified about the incident at 5:26 a.m. EDT by his counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan. The White House said there was no apparent connection to terrorism.

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