Washington (CNN)As most of the Republican presidential candidates made their first public appearance since the deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, they took different approaches in their reaction -- from offering prayers to declaring the U.S. is "at war."
Ted Cruz: San Bernardino shows we're 'at time of war'
Sen. Ted Cruz and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were the most aggressive on Thursday, with Cruz saying that the deadly mass shooting shows that the country is "at war."
The comments came during the Republican Jewish Coalition's presidential forum in Washington where all the GOP presidential candidates were speaking on Thursday.
Cruz began his speech, the first of the day, with a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting.
He said while the details of the shooting were still "unclear," it raised concerns of a terrorist attack.
"Our prayers are with the families of those who were murdered and those who were shot," Cruz said. "And all of us are deeply concerned that this is yet another manifestation of terrorism, radical Islamic terrorism here at home."
San Bernardino: Full coverage
Law enforcement has not found any evidence of a motive yet in the attack. The alleged shooter, Syed Rizwan Farook, was an employee of the county health department whose holiday party he ended up attacking with his wife, Tashfeen Malik. Farook reportedly left the party angrily, perhaps after a testy exchange, and returned with Malik, then opened fire.
Farook was Muslim.
Cruz did not directly say the attack was terrorism, but implied there is a connection between the shooting and the war on terror in the wake of the Paris attacks last month.
"This horrific murder underscores that we are in a time of war," Cruz said.
His comments were echoed by Christie, who slammed President Barack Obama for "wring(ing) his hands" and not calling the attack terrorism.
"There are many people today who are trying to speculate on what happened in San Bernardino yesterday," Christie said. "As a former prosecutor ... I am convinced that was a terrorist attack."
He continued: "We need to come to grips with the idea that we are in the midst of the next world war."
Obama on Thursday said the motives are still unknown.
"It is possible that this was terrorist related, but we don't know. It's also possible that this was was workplace related," Obama said
At the RJC forum, other candidates took a slightly different approach than Cruz and Christie. Front-runner Donald Trump maligned Obama for not using the words radical Islamic terrorism.
"There's something going on with him that we don't know about," Trump said.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, though, was much more cautious in his remarks, eschewing any declarations of terrorism.
"We don't know all the facts yet, but we certainly have learned some facts that are concerning," Rubio said, offering his "prayers" to the victims.
The shooting killed 14 people and injured 17 others. Farook and Malik were killed in a shootout with police.