Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Barack Obama Opens the Floodgates

"I think it's fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry; No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home."

President Obama, at a prime-time news conference, responding to a question about the arrest of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. (July 22)

By answering the question candidly, Obama elevated the mostly local racial controversy to front-page national news. Cambridge law enforcement objected to Obama's comments and called for an apology, forcing Obama to backtrack on his remarks and instead say he hoped it would become a "teachable moment."

The whole situation ended about a week later with the infamous White House "beer summit," in which Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Gates and arresting officer Sergeant James Crowley sat down for some friendly brewskis and apparently worked the whole thing out.