January 7, 2015 / 5:44 PM / 5 years ago

Obama condemns 'cowardly, evil' attack in Paris, offers U.S. assistance

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) is joined by Vice President Joseph Biden (C) and Secretary of State John Kerry, as he makes a statement about the mass shooting in Paris, while in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, January 7, 2015. REUTERS/Larry Downing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday condemned what he called the “cowardly, evil” attack against a satirical newspaper in Paris and offered U.S. assistance to French President Francois Hollande in the hunt for the perpetrators.

“We will stand with the people of France through this very, very difficult time,” Obama told reporters in the Oval Office during an appearance with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Obama spoke by phone to Hollande while flying from Washington to Detroit aboard Air Force One. The White House said Obama offered U.S. resources as France works to “identify, apprehend and bring to justice the perpetrators and anyone who helped plan or enable this terrorist attack.”

Obama considers Hollande a close ally and said it is important to stand in solidarity with France. The French president made a state visit to Washington early last year.

“The fact that this was an attack on journalists, an attack on our free press, also underscores the degree to which these terrorists fear freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” Obama said.

He said these types of attacks can happen anywhere in the world and that he would stress to Kerry the need for Americans abroad to remain vigilant.

There was bipartisan outrage in Washington to the Paris attack with both Democrats and Republicans issuing statements condemning what happened and expressing support for France.

“We must assist them to bring the perpetrators and sponsors of this act to justice,” said Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican who may run for president in 2016.

Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Tom Brown

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