Schieffer: Washington could learn a lot from Boston

Fans hold a sign outside of Fenway Park to honor the Marathon bombing victims, before a game between the Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals, on April 20, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Jim Rogash/Getty Images

(CBS News) The pattern of the horrific events of this past week has become all too familiar.

First, an act of inexplicable tragedy and unspeakable loss occurs. Then we cry out for answers. And then the president flies in and offers words of condolence at a memorial service, then he flies back to Washington . . . and not much changes.

That's how the week started in Boston.

I'm sure the president said all the right things there, but I had a hard time keeping my mind on his words.

What kept running through my mind was, when will he be called on to offer words of condolence at the next memorial service? And the one after that?

And based on past episodes, I didn't expect much to be different this time.

But I was wrong. Here's what was different: while Washington found itself trying to explain to the families of the Newtown massacre victims why it was so difficult to strengthen background checks for gun buyers, and while some in Washington sought political leverage even in this awful event, the people of Boston showed us what happens when people put aside the partisan games, work together, and find the courage -- and, yes, the competence -- to confront the problem at hand.

Competence and courage are rare commodities these days.

But Political Washington could learn a lot from what we saw in Boston last week -- a lot.

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    Bob Schieffer is CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and anchor of Face the Nation.


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