American Morning

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July 29th, 2009
06:38 AM ET

Powell: Both Gates, police could have handled things better

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said he has been subject to racial profiling."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday that he has been the victim of racial profiling but believes Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. could have been more patient with the police officer who arrested him.

Watch what Powell would advise Gates » Video

    At the same time, Powell also faulted the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Police Department for escalating the situation beyond a reasonable level.

    "I think Skip [Gates], perhaps in this instance, might have waited a while, come outside, talked to the officer and that might have been the end of it," Powell said in an interview with CNN's Larry King.

    "I think he should have reflected on whether or not this was the time to make that big a deal.

    "I think in this case the situation was made much more difficult on the part of the Cambridge Police Department," Powell said. "Once they felt they had to bring Dr. Gates out of the house and to handcuff him, I would've thought at that point, some adult supervision would have stepped in and said 'OK look, it is his house. Let's not take this any further, take the handcuffs off, good night Dr. Gates.' "

    Gates, a top African-American scholar, was arrested July 16 for disorderly conduct outside his Cambridge, Massachusetts, home after police responded to a report of a possible burglary. The charge was later dropped.

    Powell said that under the circumstances, Gates may not have been in the appropriate frame of mind to best handle the situation.

    "He was just home from China, just home from New York. All he wanted to do was get to bed. His door was jammed and so he was in a mood where he said something," Powell said.

    He recalled a lesson he was taught as a child: "When you're faced with an officer who is trying to do his job and get to the bottom of something, this is not the time to get in an argument with him.

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    Filed under: American Morning • Controversy
    July 29th, 2009
    06:33 AM ET

    "Blue Dogs" keep health bill in House

    The Blue Dogs will remind you that without them the Democrats would not have a majority in the House.  Now 52 members strong, the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition is threatening to block President Obama's plans for health care reform, unless their demands are met.

    They want to "bend the curve," as they call it, of health care costs - something they say the current leading proposals in the House don't do.  When I sat down for a lengthy interview with the Blue Dogs' point man on Health Care, Arkansas Democrat Mike Ross, I was surprised to learn one thing. He's been talking regularly with former President Clinton, who tried and failed to reform health care.

    Ross and Clinton go way back.  Not only does Ross represent Hope, Arkansas - the former President's home town.  Ross was also Clinton's legislative assistant decades ago.  He may be standing in the way of current Democratic proposals on health care in the House.  But considering his history with Mr. Clinton, it's hard to see Ross dealing a fatal blow to reform.

    Filed under: Health
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