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Woman Who Talked Down School Gunman Wins President's Praise

Antoinette Tuff, on CNN's <em>Anderson Cooper 360</em> on Thursday.
Antoinette Tuff, on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 on Thursday.

"She was remarkable," President Obama tells CNN after being asked about Antoinette Tuff.

She's the school bookkeeper in Decatur, Ga., who on Tuesday persuaded a young man with an assault rifle and other weapons to lay down the guns he had brought into her elementary school and give himself up to police.

"Here is somebody who is not just courage [sic] and not just cool under pressure, but also had enough heart that somehow she could convince somebody that was really troubled that she cared about him," Obama says in an interview broadcast Friday on CNN's New Day.

In a phone call with Tuff on Thursday, Obama says, he told her "that not only did she make Michelle and me proud, but she probably saved a lot of lives, including the life of the potential perpetrator."

The president adds that "we might have to have her maybe make a visit to the White House."

CNN also has the emotional first meeting — in person — of Tuff and 911 operator Kendra McCray, who Tuff spoke with throughout Tuesday's frightening ordeal.

"We made it!" Tuff says to McCray.

"She is a true hero," McCray says of Tuff.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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