WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In a rare prime-time speech, President Barack Obama called the shootings in San Bernardino, California, an "act of terrorism." He prodded Congress to adopt new restrictions on assault weapons and ban people who are on no-fly lists from purchasing firearms. And he urged Americans against associating terrorism with all Muslims -- even as he said that extremism in some communities is "a real problem that Muslims must confront without excuse."
The address Sunday night, December 6th was just the third Oval Office address during Obama's presidency.
The other two Oval Office addresses came after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the end of combat missions in Iraq.
A political expert here in Milwaukee says the location of the speech reflects President Obama's reaction to attacks in Paris and California.
"The threat from terrorism is real -- but we will overcome it," President Obama said.
Speaking from the Oval Office, President Obama's address was an effort to reassure Americans following the terror attack that killed 14 people in San Bernardino.
Mordecai Lee, professor at UW-Milwaukee, says Oval Office addresses have become a rare sight in the age of social media and 24-hour cable news.
"It`s a real signal, not just of President Obama, but if you go back to President George W. Bush, that they really wanted to save these moments to indicate they were special," Lee said.
"We are cooperating with Muslim majority countries and with our Muslim communities here at home to counter the vicious ideology that ISIL promotes online," President Obama said.
Before President Obama's speech, the director of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee said it's a duty local Muslims take seriously.
"What we have a responsibility to do is to make sure, especially the young people, are not attracted to these ideologies that are really hateful, bigoted," Othman Atta, Islamic Society of Milwaukee director said.
In his address, President Obama vowed to continue airstrikes against ISIS and the use of special ops forces. He defended his resistance to sending thousands of troops after the terrorists.
"We should not be drawn, once more, into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria. That`s what groups like ISIL want," President Obama said.
Lee says we should all step back and reflect on the challenge before our country.
"We have to think about not just what would make us feel good in terms of the action and reaction -- but in terms of what would be effective in the long run," Lee said.
As it relates to national reaction to the president's address, GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who had promised to live-tweet the speech, came to the quick conclusion, "We need a new President - FAST!"
The real estate mogul had little else to say other than, "Is that all there is?"
In other tweets, Trump excused Obama for reading a prepared speech off of a teleprompter, but said he hoped Obama wouldn't criticize Second Amendment gun rights.
After Obama's speech, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio called Obama "completely overwhelmed" by the terrorism threat in a Fox News appearance.
Rubio also said Obama was "cynical" for spending time urging Americans not to discriminate against Muslims.
"Where is the evidence that we have widespread discrimination against Muslims?" he said.
And he blasted Obama's focus on gun control.
"The notion that a radical jihadist who is on a no-fly list is going to walk into a local gun shop to purchase a gun is absurd," Rubio said.
Republican Ben Carson called Obama's speech "strange."
"President Obama's declaration tonight that his policies are working was strange," Carson said in a statement. "Strange that it took four days from the attack to respond and even more strange that somehow the attack on our soil is proof his policies are working. One must wonder who has contained who."
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz responded to Obama by taking aim at the immigration system.
"If I am elected President, I will direct the Department of Defense to destroy ISIS. And I will shut down the broken immigration system that is letting jihadists into our country," he said in a statement. "Nothing President Obama said tonight will assist in either case."
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called the struggle against ISIS "the war of our time."
"We need to remove the self-imposed constraints President Obama has placed on our intelligence community and military, and we need to put in place an aggressive strategy to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism as I have proposed," he said.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul used his statement to criticize Obama's calls for gun control reforms and also took aim at the U.S. immigration system.
"We should not double down on this failed and dangerous policy that the President called for tonight," he said in a statement. "We must arm our allies, the Kurds, and insist on Arab boots on the ground for our allies in the region."
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, another 2016 contender, said Obama's strategy "is not enough."
"Bolder action across the board is needed because our way of life is what's at stake," said Kasich in a statement. "Also, when terrorists threaten us, our response can't be to target our own constitutional rights. Our rights aren't the problem, our unwillingness to act to defeat extremists is the problem. We need to decisively and aggressively protect our nation and our ideals."
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus also blasted Obama's speech.
"We will defeat ISIS but we cannot do so by continuing the current approach. The path laid out by President Obama and supported by Hillary Clinton has not worked, and ISIS has only gained in strength," Priebus said in a statement. "The attacks in San Bernardino should serve as a wake-up call for Obama and Clinton that the way to victory is not through the status quo but refocusing our efforts to defeat ISIS."
House Speaker Paul Ryan said this in a statement: