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President Obama's speech at Tucson shooting memorial draws lower-than-expected viewing

January 13, 2011 |  3:15 pm

Nearly 31 million people watched President Obama's speech at the Tucson memorial on Wednesday night — a surprisingly low figure considering how much attention the shootings in Arizona have received.

According to the Nielsen Co., an average of 30.8 million total viewers tuned in to the address, which was carried live at 5:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. PST on seven networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.

While the size of the audience was large by most standards, it was lower than has been seen for some other recent Obama speeches. Last June, the president's address on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill crisis was seen by 32 million viewers. And the 2010 State of the Union speech averaged 48 million. However, the timing of the Tucson speech meant that it occurred earlier than prime time in much of the country, including California.

— Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: President Barack Obama addresses a gathering for the victims of a mass shooting in Tucson. Photo credit: Mike Segar/Reuters.