AURORA, Colo. -- Despair all around him, President Barack Obama on Sunday offered hugs, tears and the nation's sympathy to survivors of the Colorado shooting rampage and to families whose loved ones were shot dead. He found hope in the heartbreak, insisting a brighter day will come.

In dramatic detail, Obama offered a glimpse inside the horror that took place in the Denver-area movie theater early Friday, relaying a story he said spoke to the courage of young Americans. With two fingers pressed to his own neck, Obama recalled how one woman saved the life of a friend who had been shot by keeping pressure on a vein that had "started spurting blood" and later helping carry her to safety.

Behind closed doors, Obama visited one by one with hurting families gathered at a hospital and patients recovering in intensive care. He emerged before the TV cameras and kept his focus on the lives and dreams of the fallen and the survivors, not the shooting suspect or his "evil act."

"I come to them not so much as president as I do as a father and as a husband," Obama told reporters after his visits. "The reason stories like this have such an impact on us is because we could all understand what it would be to have somebody we love taken from us in this fashion."

He continued: "I also had a chance to give folks some hugs and to shed some tears, but also to share some laughs as they remembered the wonderful lives that these men and women represented."

"Some of the stories are remarkable," Obama said. "You see young people who've come in and just two days ago, or 36 hours ago, or even 24 hours ago, it wasn't certain whether they'd make it. And now suddenly, their eyes are open, they're alert and they're talking. And it reminds you that even in the darkest of days, life continues, and people are strong and people bounce back and people are resilient."

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  • US President Barack Obama arrives alongs

    US President Barack Obama arrives alongside Colorado Senator Mark Udall (L) to speak at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, July 22, 2012, following a visit with victims and family members of last week's shootings during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, 'The Dark Knight Rises,' at a nearby movie theater that left 12 killed and 58 injured. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US President Barack Obama arrives alongs

    US President Barack Obama arrives alongside Colorado Senator Mark Udall (L) to speak at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, July 22, 2012, following a visit with victims and family members of last week's shootings during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, 'The Dark Knight Rises,' at a nearby movie theater that left 12 killed and 58 injured. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US President Barack Obama speaks alongsi

    US President Barack Obama speaks alongside Colorado Senator Mark Udall (left) and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (right) at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, July 22, 2012, following a visit with victims and family members of last week's shootings during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, 'The Dark Knight Rises,' at a nearby movie theater that left 12 killed and 58 injured. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US President Barack Obama speaks at the

    US President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, July 22, 2012, following a visit with victims and family members of last week's shootings during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, 'The Dark Knight Rises,' at a nearby movie theater that left 12 killed and 58 injured. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • President Obama Visits Colorado In Wake Of Movie Theater Shootings

    AURORA, CO - JULY 22: (AFP OUT) People watch from a second floor window as U.S. President Barack Obama's motorcade arrives at University of Colorado Hospital July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Obama met with victims of last Friday's movie theater mass shooting. Police in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, say that James Holmes, 24, in custody after he is suspected of killing 12 people and injuring 59 during a midnight screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises' last Friday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • Medical staff and visitors look out the

    Medical staff and visitors look out the window as US President Barack Obama's motorcade arrives at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, July 22, 2012, for a visit with family members of the victims of last week's shootings at a movie theater in Aurora. AFP PHOTO/Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Medical staff and visitors look out the

    Medical staff and visitors look out the window as US President Barack Obama's motorcade arrives at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, July 22, 2012, for a visit with family members of the victims of last week's shootings at a movie theater in Aurora. AFP PHOTO/Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Barack Obama, Daniel Oates, Steve Hogan, John Hickenlooper, Mark Udall

    President Barack Obama, second from left, talks with from right, Aurora Colo., Mayor Steve Hogan, Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, and Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., after Obama arrived at at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., Sunday, July 22, 2012. Obama is traveling to Aurora, Colorado to visit with families of victims of the movie theater shooting as well as local officials. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

  • Barack Obama, Daniel Oates, Mark Udall, John Hickenlooper

    President Barack Obama, second from left, talks with Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., left, as Aurora, Colo., Police Chief Daniel Oates, right, and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, second from right, watch, after Obama arrived at at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., Sunday, July 22, 2012. Obama is traveling to Aurora, Colorado to visit with families of victims of the movie theater shooting as well as local officials. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

  • Barack Obama, Steve Hogan, Daniel Oates

    President Obama greets Aurora, Colo., Mayor Steve Hogan, center, Aurora Polic Chief Daniel Oates after Air Force One landed at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., Sunday, July 22, 2012. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Barack Obama, Daniel Oates, Steve Hogan

    President Barack Obama greets Aurora (Colo.) Police Chief Daniel Oates, as Mayor Steve Hogan, right, watches after Obama arrived at at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., Sunday, July 22, 2012. Obama is traveling to Aurora to visit with families of victims of the movie theater shooting as well as local officials. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

  • Barack Obama, Daniel Oates, Steve Hogan

    President Barack Obama greets Aurora (Colo.) Mayor Steve Hogan as Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates, left, watches after Obama arrived at at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., Sunday, July 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama steps off Marine One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Sunday, July 22, 2012. Obama is traveling to Aurora, Colo., to visit with families of victims of the movie theater shooting as well as local officials. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama walks to Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Sunday, July 22, 2012. Obama is traveling to Aurora, Colo., to visit with families of victims of the movie theater shooting as well as local officials. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama salutes as he walks up the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Sunday, July 22, 2012. Obama is traveling to Aurora, Colo., to visit with families of victims of the movie theater shooting as well as local officials. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama waves from the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Sunday, July 22, 2012. Obama is traveling to Aurora, Colo., to visit with families of victims of the movie theater shooting as well as local officials. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama leaves the White House in Wsshington for a trip to visit the families of victims of the shooting in Colorado, Sunday, July 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama leaves the White House for a trip to visit the families of victims of the shooting in Colorado, Sunday, July 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)