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July 30th, 2009
02:11 PM ET

President's beer summit

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sweet says a teachable moment of the beer summit would be one doesn't 'have to be trapped in an endless soundbite.'"]

Thursday President Obama will have Professor Gates and the man who arrested him Police Sergeant James Crowley, over to the white house for beers. He hopes the meeting will be a national "teachable moment.” The racially-charged debate's been a learning experience for the president, who helped create the rift with his response to this question at last week's news conference.

The reporter who asked the question, Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times spoke with CNN’s Carol Costello about the controversy.

Filed under: Controversy
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Al

    Bob, I like the "round table". Is prejudice passively assimilated?

    August 1, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  2. Al

    I would think that the President maybe should not have weighed in on this thing, especially in those words...however I am quite sure that he did not create a bigger problem. I am also quite sure that he was not categorically calling members of the law enforcement stupid. It is safe to say that there is a statistical presence of narrow minded or ignorant and, yes, even stupid people in the general population of the world. Why is any given profession any different... There are tons of instances where a cop has unselflessly gone into danger or even death to protect his fellow man. Look at the police and firefighters on 9/11; these people are a special breed. Nobody is calling these people stupid. As a society, we hire these people to "protect and serve" and it can be safely said that 99% of the time this works. There are, though, instances of people in law enforcement that let their personal bias prevail and abuse their position of power. There are enough documented incidents to support this claim.

    Just as there are a few rotten apples in the police department, there are perhaps, people in the medical and pharmacudical profession that are not altruistic, that are profit motivated...very profit motivated. And there are SOME (NOT ALL) rules of law support this behavior; take some patent laws for example. Billable hours are just as important to the medical community as any other profession...coders do make good money. For some, NOT ALL, the profit motive prevails and the surgery is the solution rather that something less invasive.

    Lou, your comments re socialism and our forfathers rolling over in their graves are just red herrings just to cloud the issue at hand...Racial Bias. But while were at it, let me further cloud the issue and create success by association: This whole globalization of business and culture is relatively new, economies of different countries are becomming somewhat dependant upon each other, cultures that have heretofor held themselves apart are having to re-examine their relationship with others. Likewise the concept of super power (ism) needs to be addressed. I for one applaud our President's movement to engage the international body in the search for a solution rather to just act unilaterally. I applaud his movement to aim for a win win solution. Isn't this "change" acceptable?

    July 31, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  3. Bob

    You don't learn prejudice, its taught to you.

    When the meeting was announced a "Picnic Table" was mentioned. I visualized a typical wooden picnic table. The table used was more like a "Knight of a Round Table.

    July 31, 2009 at 8:13 am |
  4. Steve

    Okay...Use your imagination, The four finish their beers. None are used to drinking....They now see each other through "BEER GOGGLES" What does each one see now?
    Very funny stuff if you think about it?

    I'd love to hear your comment John !!!

    July 31, 2009 at 7:36 am |
  5. Lou Adams--Ky

    I think this was a totally uncalled for publicity stunt and, yes, stupid, in President Obama's famous words. These two men had a misunderstanding, and they seem to be working their way thru it, the problem was when the President of the United States, not long after calling doctors thieves who would do unnecessary tonsillectomies, called the actions of the men and women who risk their lives every day to protect us, our lives and belongings, stupid! I can’t believe that he doesn’t realize that everybody knows he is just trying to cover his own butt and get peoples minds off what he is trying to do to out country with this stunt. He is gradually turning us socialist! Look at the long list of things he has done since coming into office, from taking over companies, and banks, to limiting what a company can pay an employee and now he wants to decide what, when, and if we should receive needed medical care. Personally I want my doctor making those decisions, and a cold beer in a rose garden (especially when I’m not the one drinking it!) isn’t going to take my mind off the negative remarks he made, including name calling like a child, or the “changes”, he has made since taking office. I don’t think anyone would have voted for him if he had made it clear what kind of changes he was talking about. I kept asking, “OK, Changes, but what kind of changes?” But no one listened. Well, now we know!

    I think our Founding Fathers would roll over in their graves if they knew what was happening to the country they bled and some even died for. He has such a high opinion of President Lincoln, well President Lincoln fought a civil war to save this country, and keep it from splitting apart. Simply knowing what was happening and what had to be done to hold it together nearly destroyed him personally. Ever look at the pictures at his inauguration and ones shortly before his death? I don’t think he would be very proud of Mr. Obama right now.

    July 31, 2009 at 1:19 am |
  6. HeyI

    President Obama's attempt to solve the Pro. Gates-Sgt. Crowleys racial issue was based on political solution and expediency. However, USA Supreme Court specifically ruled that cops may not make arrest based on police criticism, accusation and cursing. I can cite many cases but for space. Admittedly, Sgt. Crowley made the call at Pro. Gates' based on robbery in progress. The robbery issue ends as soon as Pro. Gates informed the sergeant that he was the owner of the house and showed the his identity. Then, Pro Gates' right to privacy and Fourth Amendment kicks in. The sergeant violated Pro. gates' Fourtth Amendment when he arrested him without warrant and without witnessing him committing either felony or misdemeanor crime. Puplic disorderly is not applicable here because Pro. Gates was at his home and did not distrub and public at the time of his arrest. No, media mentioned clear violation of Pro. Gates' Privacy and Fourt Amendment Rights under USA Constitution as ruled by USA Supreme Court. Even President Obahama has not mentioned so far for political expediency to clam the police association who arrogantly and ignorantly claim apology after the violation of Pro. Gates' constitutional rights. If somebody breaks the law he is acting stupidly and he should be treated accordingly. He does not deseryve apology but punishmthent for the violation of the law. It is disgusting appalling to see the sympathy to the sergeant for violating somebody's constitution. The sergeant deserves punishment, not invitation to the White House for beer party . Thank you.

    July 30, 2009 at 11:06 pm |
  7. Al

    a cancer...OK, but science continues to look for how to treat the cancer and more importantly the cause.

    July 30, 2009 at 9:48 pm |
  8. barbara

    No the Race problem will not be solved my drinking a beer.
    Everybody knows that.. The lady who called the police did a press conference yesterday & said she did not mention Race but Race
    was put in the police report. Race is like a cancer-- it has has remissions & excerabations.
    Remissions– when Race is swept under the rug,(like the beer party),
    police go back to business as usual–PROFILING.
    Excerabations--is when Race blows up, like the arrest of Pro.
    Gates / Crowley case..

    July 30, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  9. Al

    re cnn countdown; Let's all pop a beer at the same time and think positively about what we, as individuals, can do to resolve racial bias.

    July 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    I believe that Mr. Obama shows a wealth of maturity inviting the Professor and the Cop to booze and cool things off.

    The incident is no different than what is happening every single day in America. Cops abuse their power hiding behind the power of a bagge and a gun.

    The Professor should use his legal rights and pursue the matter. Perhaps he can donate the money to these young man and women who see no hope nor future in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

    Racists are here to stay. The only remedy is to continue to punish them when Fate allows.

    This gathering will not help in any way race relations in this country. White Americans will have to train their ears first.

    July 30, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  11. Dennis

    Actually, the reporter is right. Pres. Bush was trapped in several soundbites–I believe Pres. Obama will stick his foot in his mouth again soon. The downside is that if he has a kegger every time he screws up, an intervention might be necessary by the 2010 election. Does his healthcare plan cover rehab?

    July 30, 2009 at 2:26 pm |