"Amid a scattering of angry protests over his support for abortion rights, President Obama addressed the issue head-on Sunday at the University of Notre Dame, calling for 'open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words' in the pursuit of 'common ground,'" the Washington Post says. More: "The vast majority of the 12,000 in attendance at the Joyce Center basketball arena gave the president several loud, sustained ovations, and the crowd rallied to his defense when people attempted to interrupt him at the start. One protester yelled 'Abortion is murder!' 'Baby killer!' and 'You have blood on your hands.' Another shouted, 'Stop killing our children.' The crowd responded with boos and then chants of 'Yes, we can' and 'We are N.D.'"
The New York Times: "The encounter was a rare foray into one of the most volatile areas of public life for Mr. Obama… As recently as last week, aides said he would mention the controversy in his speech without dwelling on it. But ultimately, he decided to devote most of his address to bridging the chasm over abortion and other moral issues… In his address, Mr. Obama did not engage on the merits of the debate on abortion; he instead made an appeal to each side of the issue."
The Los Angeles Times: "'President Obama did exactly what he needed to do,' said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. 'He challenged the students to take on the problems of the day; he spoke beyond them to the wider audience of Catholic citizens and presented a demeanor that contrasted with those who tried to paint him as a demonic, anti-life fanatic.'"
"Michael McNaught, assistant director of Loyola Marymount University's Center for Religion and Spirituality in Los Angeles, said: 'As a practicing Catholic, I found his speech inspiring and hopeful. . . . I suspect that one of his motivations is to kind of hit this issue head-on. He's not hiding from the controversy.'"
The New York Post headlined it, "Obama in the Lions' Den," and writes, "As pro-life demonstrators prayed and protested outside, President Obama yesterday squarely addressed the abortion debate in a Notre Dame commencement speech."
USA Today: "A handful of the more than 1,000 pro-life advocates who gathered outside the university's main entrance Sunday also tried to press the issue by violating a Notre Dame ban on entering the campus with signs and placards depicting graphic images of aborted fetuses. The group included Norma McCorvey— the 'Jane Roe' from the Roe v. Wade court case that legalized abortion in the U.S. — who was taken away with several others by campus police. They joined about 40 others who have been charged with trespassing in the recent days."
"Protest organizers Alan Keyes, a former GOP presidential candidate, and conservative activist Randall Terry, both of whom had been charged with trespassing during earlier protests leading up to Obama's visit, stayed outside Sunday to direct the opposition. 'Our mission is to so tar President Obama with the blood of the innocent that he can never escape his role in the history of the killing of the innocents,' Terry said. 'We want people to think Barack Obama equals dead babies so that in 2012 he cannot seduce Catholics and moderates who supported him in the last election.'"
CBN's David Brody writes, "You have to give the President credit for even venturing into this area of abortion and common ground. With all that is on his plate, he could easily punt on abortion reduction talk. Let's face it. It is risky politically but this President doesn't seem to shy away from big challenges. He embraces them."
In non-Notre Dame news… The Washington Post front-pages that ousted GM chief Rick Wagoner is still on GM's payroll. Why? "Wagoner's removal has been held up because senior Treasury officials have yet to decide whether he should get the $20 million severance package that the company had promised him. The delay is one of many hitches that have slowed a host of important policy actions in the four months since Timothy F. Geithner became Treasury secretary. While Geithner has taken dramatic steps to address flashpoints in the economy, the work of carrying out those policies has bogged down because critical decisions about how to do so aren't being made, interviews with a broad range of federal officials show."