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Obama "Recalibrates" On the Gates/Crowley Issue

Following up on yesterday's story, President Obama has reconsidered his ill-fated initial foray into the controversy surrounding the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.



Video via TPM LiveWire


From The Caucus Blog at New York Times story on President Obama's appearance:

The brief and surprise appearance by Mr. Obama before reporters on Friday afternoon was an attempt by the White House to move beyond the controversy that has dominated the last two days of news coverage. Only hours earlier, Robert Gibbs, the press secretary, said the president had made his final remarks about the issue. But advisers said the mounting criticism from police groups and others persuaded the president to address the matter in an attempt to move on.

The five-minute call between Mr. Obama and Mr. Crowley took place Friday afternoon. Aides said the president had not yet spoken to Professor Gates.

Mr. Obama did not use the word "apology," but aides said that was the sentiment conveyed during his phone call with Sergeant Crowley.

The controversy, Mr. Obama acknowledged, overshadowed his attempt to explain the effort to overhaul the nation's health care system. By speaking about the matter again on Friday, the president hoped to turn the page.

It now appears that even President Obama is pretty sure the Gates was anything but civil to the police officer as he initially claimed.


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Comments (28)

He still thinks the police ... (Below threshold)
epador:

He still thinks the police over-reacted and clearly states so. Sorry, can't have your ACORN and eat it too.

I am still amazed by:... (Below threshold)
bp:

I am still amazed by:

- The obvious setup by Obama to have the question asked of him at the Press Conference
- The arrogance with which to comment on a topic that he didn't have all the facts on.

I think most of the American people are finally seeing this crowd in Washington, Axelrod, Gibbs, Emanuel for what they really are....

Obama definitely should hav... (Below threshold)
James H:

Obama definitely should have kept his mouth shut on this one. Absent truly outrageous behavior on the part of police or suspect, it really isn't the president's place to comment on what amounts to an ongoing local controversy.

Surprisingly, Salon has up a couple pieces that come down hard on Gates. Race isn't the only issue here. Class is is just as big a factor, given we have a Harvard professor with a clear disdain for the working-class police officer. Not to a working-class police officer's possible disdain for an arrogant Harvard professor ...

It was written for him. He ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

It was written for him. He though he would be smooth and get the "I am black and people are sometimes mean" sympathy going and it backfired. What.An.Idiot. ww

He's a bigot, plain and sim... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

He's a bigot, plain and simple. Actions *DO* speak louder than words, unless you hear those very words emanating from their mouth.

He literally jumped at the chance to back up his "friend" and in the process take a swing at racial politics. To bad he didn't pay *any* attention to the facts and only listened to one side, the bigoted one, of the story.

Now it's blown up in his face when he could least afford to have something like that happen.

It couldn't have happened to a better person at a better time to expose him for what he is.

Obama's in trouble? Better ... (Below threshold)
Trajan:

Obama's in trouble? Better throw Gates under
the bus. Presto....done earlier today in
the WH press room.

Let's face it folks, our Pr... (Below threshold)
eblum:

Let's face it folks, our President is a racist, thin-skinned bully. If he hadn't had the "advantage" of the color of his skin, he wouldn't have even had a shot at the presidency. As far as Gates goes, he's another affirmative action recipient who has a massive chip on his shoulder. Professor of black studies.... give me a break.

1. Obama is an idiot.... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:

1. Obama is an idiot.
2. Obama didn't give "an impression that he was maligning" the officers, he said that they acted stupidly. That's got nothing to do with "calibrating" words (whatever in the hell that means) or any "impression." Obama's statement that the officers acted stupidly was clear as a bell. Now that his words are causing him problems, he's trying to withdraw them.
3. This incident has not "garnered so much attention" because race is the issue. The incident has "garnered so much attention" because Obama made an offensive comment about decent police officers after twice saying that he didn't know the facts of the situation. I really don't know all of the facts about Obama's level of intelligence, but he's an idiot.
4. This incident has nothing to do with race in the first place. The cops wanted to ask questions of a guy. This wasn't a guy who was hanging out in the neighborhood. This was a guy who had actually broken into a house!! The race of the guy doesn't matter--cops are generally supposed to talk to people who break into houses, aren't they? Is it unreasonable for the cops to want to make sure that the guy who broke into the house wasn't there to commit a crime? If that guy is then unable to act rationally, aren't the cops supposed to look on that suspiciously? I know it's unlikely, but maybe these cops have heard the "hey, it's OK for me to be here" line before.
5. Obama is an idiot.

President Obama hopes to <i... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

President Obama hopes to "move beyond the controversy" and "hoped to turn the page" but he still refuses to apologize his 'stupid' remarks. In other words, he just wants it to go away.

Making such comments are beneath the President of the United States but apparently not beneath the current occupant.

I wanted to make c... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:
I wanted to make clear that in my choice of words, I think, I unfortunately, I think, gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sergeant Crowley specifically,
I think it's fair to say...that the Cambridge police acted stupidly
Here's an odd thought.... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Here's an odd thought.

A black man got elected president. The 'guilt trip' methodology isn't working any more. There might actually be two sides to a story.

Agreed: the President of th... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Agreed: the President of the United States of America should have more important things to discuss than the stupidity of a police officer arresting someone for being discourteous while standing on their own property.

Aren't you people supposed to be the ones that get upset when law enforcement interferes with your 'freedom'?

hyperbolist...frankly, bein... (Below threshold)

hyperbolist...frankly, being an asshole SHOULD be illegal, and thus you and Gates could share a cell!

Obami the gift that just ke... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Obami the gift that just keeps giving.

hyper:Ag... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

hyper:

Agreed: the President of the United States of America should have more important things to discuss than the stupidity of a police officer arresting someone for being discourteous while standing on their own property.

Aren't you people supposed to be the ones that get upset when law enforcement interferes with your 'freedom'?

Firstly, the President DOES have more important issue with which to involve himself. Secondly, his comments indicate a grossly poor judgment in maligning the sgt and the entire PD over a situation which he admittedly didn't have the facts.

We have systems and methods in place to handle the situation if the officer acted inappropriately. One thing that was certainly inappropriate was Obama stupid comments.

For Barry to jump into the ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

For Barry to jump into the middle of a daily news briefing at the White House, I can only conclude that Axelrod's poling numbers on this must have been terrible. Barry was probably told he better kiss and make up FAST!

Hyper,It troubles me... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Hyper,
It troubles me to come down (somewhat) on your side on this one. Agreed that the president should have never even commented on this. When he said he didn't know the facts, he was done with the question right there. The president should apologize. This guy feels we are entitled to his opinion on everything: racism, automobile industry, needless surgeries, blah, blah, blah.

As far as Gates getting arrested, he may very well be a jerk, but since the man was arrested on his own property and as far as I'm aware he didn't get physical with anyone I'm waiting for the facts myself.

As an aside I thought it was kind of weird initially that this Gates guy just happened to be a "friend" of the president. Then I figured the arrogant, self-absorbed, thin-skinned black male college profs with chips on their shoulders is probably a pretty small tight-knit group.

World Renowned Apologist St... (Below threshold)
TDC:

World Renowned Apologist Struggles with Stupidity

Mark Levin read the police ... (Below threshold)
Bob:

Mark Levin read the police report on his show last night. Gates was race baiting the cop and wanted to get arrested. He got his wish, but it's not a clear cut case of he said vs. he said as there are loads of witnesses watching Gates make a royal asshat out of himself. He continues to do so every day.

You do not need to be bl... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

You do not need to be black to be a victim of profiling. Last year my dear friend Sally was dieing of cancer. She new she only had a short time left in this world and wanted to spend it by lake where she vacationed as a child. I drove there first and made all of the arrangements, even finding a house in the same block she vacationed as a chid. I was there for a week and though it would be lovely place for Sally to spend her last days.

However, Sally and I became victims of profiling by the police. We were there during the off-season. Many houses were vacant and the police made frequent patrols through the neighborhood.

Apparently they were having problems with crack-heads breaking into houses during the off-season. I was carrying Sallys belongings into the house as a patrol car approached. As Sally waved at the officer, the policeman slammed his breaks and turned on the siren. He jumped out of the car running towards us with his gun drawn and yelling for us to get face down on the grown. I broke the box of china I was carrying in the process. We were both hand-cuffed and questioned by a policeman who was convinced we were crack-heads burgulurizing a home. We tried giving him the phone number of the owner of the house. However, he would only let us answer his questions. He told us to shut up when we tried to explain that we were renting the house. Finally, some backup arrived and one of the officers did listed to us and after confirming everything let us go.

Nothing in my life had prepared me for what I went through the day we moved nor for what was to follow. Sally was very skinny and her face sunken from the cancer. The police continously mistook her for a crack addict. We were constantly hastled by police that would treat us like we were drug addicts. And when they think you are a drug addict they forego the usual pleasantries they display to others. We were called crack-heads and threatened to be arrested for public intoxication if they saw us again. Neither of us drink or take any kind of illegal drugs.

People have had plenty of t... (Below threshold)
Hermie:

People have had plenty of time to notice that Obama NEVER apologizes for anything he says or does. This incident has not only revealed that Obama is an egotist to the highest degree; so much so he can't manage a simple 'I'm sorry' (Not to be confused with his apologizing to every country for the US' 'sins', because he feels he is guiltless.); but he has to trot out his aides to try to explain that it was an apology, even though the words weren't actually there.

You either say 'I'm sorry' or you don't. People know the difference.

#12: Agreed: the Preside... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:

#12: Agreed: the President of the United States of America should have more important things to discuss than the stupidity of a police officer arresting someone for being discourteous while standing on their own property.

Agreed: he has no business talking about it whatsoever, particularly since he stated that he didn't know any of the facts. Anyone with any common sense at all would have STFU. Not our guy, though. He doesn't have the smarts to know to keep his pie hole closed. Maybe that's because his signature issue, healthcare deform, is wilting in the light of day.

#18He dont struggle ... (Below threshold)
914:

#18
He dont struggle with it.. He owns it!


lol

Now Obama wants to have a b... (Below threshold)
Gene McGuire:

Now Obama wants to have a beer with these two. How much will that cost the taxpayer to fly them to the White House, put them up for a night and fly them back? Just for a photo-op. Why not just send the a gift certificate and forget about it?

Keep the freakin beer..I wa... (Below threshold)
geo Author Profile Page:

Keep the freakin beer..I want an apology to the police.

The President states that H... (Below threshold)
wALT lAUERMANN:

The President states that He would like to have this incident become a teachable moment. How about admitting that he was wrong to involve himself in this incident and then apoligizing to the parties involved. Now that would be a lesson that would improve all sorts of relationships.

Based on what I've read and... (Below threshold)
KC:

Based on what I've read and heard, the facts are simple. Mr. Crowley arrived to investigate a possible burglary. If Mr. Gates had simply stepped out of his home and provided id to prove that the property belonged to him, he would not have been arrested. Instead he chose the "you don't know who you're messing with" irrational method, became disorderly and was rightfully arrested.

Mr. Gates should be appreciative that the police came to check on the matter. Instead, he created a situation that provided him good classroom material and expects the police officer to apologize. A police officer should never have to apologize for doing his job! What if there had been a burglary in progress and the police had not responded quickly enough. I suspect Mr. Gates would have been on his "high-horse" that the police don't do their job.

I say good for the Cambridge police and for Mr. Crowley. Keep up the good work. Shame on Mr. Gates and on President Obama - his comments on this matter are outrageous and are once again stirring up a race debate - not exactly what he promised to do when he was elected!!

OK, if this were reversed, ... (Below threshold)
Arizona Mildman:

OK, if this were reversed, if a white man who was a publicly professor getting on in age was confronted falsely by a black officer and the black officer had arrived there on a mistaken call, this whole thing would have been two things. 1) Not in the news, it happens every day. 2) Not racially significant because white people in a predominantly black neighborhood aren't notoriously harrassed by black police officers. The latter condition is a fact that any policeman would admit. That is why the president would have been better off to have said, "No comment, I don't have all the facts." I knew that this was a trap. The moment he said that word, "...stupidly..." I wished that I could have been standing next to him and said, "Mr. President, there is a whole press corps and a whole political party waiting to pounce on you, you have to be careful of what you say." If the situation were reversed and a white professor who was somewhat as the A.P. called him, disabled and diminutive Gates. Everyone in this country is seeming to take a side in something that is really none of their business. But since one reporter at a health care press conference had to use this as a platform to start a conflict and race "scandal" in a situation that happens every day here, the press got their mountain that was actually a molehill. And the critics of Obama who are using this as a political footbll are scandal propagandists anyway, I don't really care what they say. The unfortunate thing is this starts arguments. I have read in the media some who say the president should be grateful that this happened so we can start talking about race and black on white without worry of having to be politically correct. Only a racist would welcome the opportunity to be on this like a fat kid on an Eskimo Pie. The fact that it happened the way it did, yes, the police did act stupidly, but as per what the president actually did say, not conjecture or made up propaganda, so did Professor Gates. As some are so ready to scream unceasingly, the men with uniforms and guns should be respected, but by everyone else's count, they are not supposed to be feared. We have an issue with that in America. Men with guns wearing red uniforms came here and tried to bully us once, that didn't work out real well for them.




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