UPDATED 3:13 pm ET
Instead of delivering his weekly address to the nation, President Barack Obama has asked Francine Wheeler, whose son was killed in the Dec. 14 mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., to deliver the remarks, which will air Saturday.
Obama personally tweeted the news after it was first announced by White House press secretary Jay Carney at Friday's briefing:
Francine Wheeler, a Newtown mom, will take my place in tomorrow's Weekly Address. It's a message everyone should hear: #NowIsTheTime. -bo
— The White House (@whitehouse) April 12, 2013
Family members of the 20 children and six educators killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December have been lobbying lawmakers in Washington, D.C., this week to pass legislation to reduce gun violence. Their work has been credited with preventing a bill to expand background checks for gun purchases from being blocked by a Senate filibuster.
The president "believes their voices and resolve have been critical to the continued progress we've seen in the Senate," Carney said of the families.
Carney said this was the first time during the Obama administration that someone other than the president or vice president has been asked to deliver the weekly address.