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Obama Highlights Hadiya Pendleton In SOTU

President has mentioned Chicago gun violence several times in recent speeches

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Nate and Cleo Pendleton, the parents of Chicago shooting victim Hadiya Pendleton, sat with First Lady Michelle Obama during the president's State of the Union address.

    President Barack Obama on Tuesday highlighted the recent shooting death of Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton in his call for "commonsense reform" to the nation's gun laws.

    "In the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun," Obama said during his fifth State of the Union address.

    "One of those we lost was a young girl named Hadiya Pendleton. She was 15 years old. She loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette. She was so good to her friends, they all thought they were her best friend. Just three weeks ago, she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a week later, she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house," he said.

    Pendleton's parents, Nate and Cleo, were seated next to First Lady Michelle Obama to witness the address.

    Mayor: "Punk" Killed Hadiya

    [CHI] Mayor: "Punk" Killed Hadiya
    Chicago Rahm Emanuel grew emotional as he talked about the Tuesday shooting death of Hadiya Pendleton.

    Obama has made gun reform one of the main priorities of his second term, and his comments of Pendleton's death weren't the first time he mentioned Chicago in a major speech. As he announced last month a package of executive actions and proposals aimed at reducing gun violence, Obama nodded to the city's murder rate while pointing to several recent massacres, including the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.

    "The most fundamental set of rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, fundamental rights that were denied to college students at Virginia Tech, high school students at Columbine and elementary school students in Newtown, and kids on street corners in Chicago, are too frequent a basis to tolerate," he said.

    Obama also included his hometown in a list of tragedies while reacting to the Newtown shootings.

    "As a country we have been through this too many times," Obama said. "Whether it's an elementary school in Newtown or a shopping mall in Oregon or a temple in Wisconsin or a movie theater in Aurora or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children."

    The president gave his State of the Union address just one day after charges were filed against two reputed gang members in Pendleton's murder. A judge on Tuesday ordered them held without bond.