After spending most of an hour patiently reiterating his arguments for changing the health insurance system, President Barack Obama turned his press conference sharply toward an iconic moment in American race relations: The arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. earlier this week by the Cambridge Police.
Gates was arrested for allegedly disorderly conduct -- a charge that was quickly dropped -- after a confrontation with a police officer inside his own home. Though some facts of the case are still in dispute, Obama showed little doubt about who had been wronged.
"I don’t know – not having been there and not seeing all the facts – what role race played in that, but I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two that he Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home," Obama said in response to a question from the Chicago Sun-Times's Lynn Sweet.
Gates, Obama allowed, "is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don't know all the facts."
However Gates, he continued, "jimmied his way to get into [his own] house."
"There was a report called in to the police station that there might be a burglary taking place – continues here