TODAY | February 16, 2013
>>> president obama is waking up this morning in florida where he plans to spend the holiday weekend. on friday he went back to his hometown of chicago and made a very personal appeal to crack down on violence. kristin welker is traveling with the president. she's in port st. lucie, florida. good morning.
>> reporter: lester, good morning to you. this vacation begins after president obama spent the week criss-crossing the nation trying to sell the key messages of his state of the union address . but friday's speech was the longest, and it was personal. [ cheers ]
>> reporter: president obama went back to his hometown of chicago and called for an end to the violence.
>> last year there were 443 murders with a firearm on the streets of this city. so that's the equivalent of a newtown every four months.
>> reporter: mr. obama met with a group of at-risk male teens just before taking the stage. and in an uncharacteristic moment talked about the similarities between them.
>> i had issues, too, when i was their age. i just had a -- an environment that was a little more forgiving. so when i screwed up, the con common sense -- the consequences weren't as high as when kids on the south side screw up.
>> reporter: the president took a broader approach of solving the issue of gun violence saying the problem is rooted in economic inequalities and broken homes. on this point he got personal, too.
>> don't get me wrong. as the son of a single mom who gave everything she had to raise me with the help of my grandparents, you know, i turned out okay. [ laughter ]
>> but at the same time, i wish i'd had a father who was around and involved.
>> reporter: while this isn't the first time the president has talked about being raised by a single mom , political analysts say friday's intimate appeal may be indicative of a more aggressive president obama .
>> we are definitely seeing a different president second term than we saw first term. first-term president was cautious. second-term president having gone over the hump of re-election, visibly seems more comfortable being himself, being more assertive.
>> reporter: friday the president wiped away a tear as he honored the six teachers and administrators who lost their lives on that tragic day in december.
>> when that showed up for work at sandy hook elementary on december 14 of last year, they expected a day like any other. they had no idea that evil was about to strike. they gave all they had for the most innocent and helpless among us.
>> reporter: since newtown, president obama has made emotional appeals to try to harness momentum for stiffer gun-control laws. once he leaves this vacation, he will face that uphill paddle with congress, as well as a faceoff over the sequester. those deep spending cuts set to go into effect in just two weeks now. lester?
>> kristin welker this morning, thank