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Barack Obama says Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 'may be a terrible tragedy'

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Responding to news that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was brought down Thursday, President Obama said the crash "looks like it may be a terrible tragedy," and offered assistance in determining what happened, CBS News reported.

"Right now we're working to determine whether there were American citizens on board. That is our first priority and I've directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government," Obama said. "The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why and as a country our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers wherever they call home."

The statement shocked a number of people, including former CNN host Piers Morgan, who normally sides with the president. Twitchy said singer Josh Groban, hardly a conservative icon, also expressed shock.

"President Obama massively dropped the ball just now. 23 Americans killed and he says 'it looks like a terrible tragedy' then back to jokes?" Morgan tweeted.

"I totally agree," Groban said in response. "Bad prep. I was shocked."

The UK Daily Mail said Obama "provoked fury" with the short mention of the crash at the beginning of a 16-minute campaign-style speech. After briefly touching on the crash, which is now said to be the result of a surface-to-air missile attack, Obama went on to bash Republicans and tout his executive actions.

"When I have a chance to help communities like Wilmington, I’m going to do it," he said. "That’s when my administration takes these executive actions, when Congress won’t act. And so far, the only response we’ve gotten from the Republicans is a lawsuit. They're suing me for doing my job, instead of going ahead and doing their job."

The Blaze also said the airline crash did not impact Obama's fundraising schedule. According to Fred Lucas, Obama is set to attend two fundraisers in New York Thursday evening. The White House reportedly told The Blaze in an email there were "[n]o scheduling changes to be reported at this time.”

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