Drink orders in for Obama meet with policeman, professor

July 27, 2009

President Barack Obama’s peacemaking efforts with a Harvard professor and a Massachusetts police sergeant are still up in the air, but the drink orders are in.

Obama invited Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates to the White House for a beer last week as he tried to make amends for inflaming a dispute between the two men.

OBAMA-RACE/Crowley, who is white, arrested Gates, a prominent black scholar and documentary filmmaker, after going to the professor’s home on a report of a possible burglary in progress.

Gates had arrived home from a trip to China to find his door jammed and had difficulty entering. The two men got into a dispute and Crowley arrested Gates on a charge of disorderly conduct –┬átouching off a debate over whether the incident involved racial profiling. The charge was later dropped.

Obama inflamed the situation at his news conference last week by saying he thought the police “acted stupidly” by arresting in his own home his friend Gates, a 58-year-old man who uses a cane to walk because of childhood injury.

Obama called Crowley and Gates last week to try to calm tempers. At Crowley’s suggestion, he agreed to invite the two to the White House for a beer.

OBAMA-RACE/HARVARDSpokesman Robert Gibbs said on Monday the White House was trying to organize the meeting for this week, but it hadn’t been set yet.

The timing may be up in the air, but the drink orders are apparently known.

Asked what beer the president might have, Gibbs observed that Obama drank a Budweiser at the baseball All-Star Game a couple of weeks ago.

“Sgt. Crowley mentioned when the president offered this on the phone Friday that he likes Blue Moon,” said Gibbs. Blue Moon is a Belgian-style white beer brewed by Molson Coors.

Gates told the Boston Globe he was a fan of Red Stripe, a Jamaican lager, and Beck’s, a German lager.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama at White House Friday after calling St. Crowley); Reuters/Brian Snyder (Crowley and Sgt. Leon Lashley, who was present when Gates was arrested, at a news conference July 24)

12 comments

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I think this is a ridiculous issue for the President of the United States to be involved in to start with. I also think that the President is trying to intimadate the officer with his position and his friendship to Mr. Gates. My husband is a police officer and when he responds to a possible burglary call he needs to have full cooperation from all people if any at the scene. He has dealt with people who are cooperative and with people who jump to the wrong conclusion and become belligerent. Mr. Gates should have shown him the ID and the whole matter would have been over but instead he chose to inflame the situation and assume it was a RACE issue. Then the whole thing would have been a non issue if the officer was black or if Mr. gates was white. The president would never have ever commented futhermore offering a beer is stupid in my opinion because alcohol is the fuel for more disputes rather than the solution.

Posted by Norma | Report as abusive

It seems to have been a misunderstanding that got out of control. The idea of sorting something out over a beer is infinitely better than either side claiming to have been perfectly in the right. It makes a change from the blame game.
But will Obama extend the policy, and have US torturers drink with former Guantanamo inmates? No? I wonder why not.

Posted by Stuart Munro | Report as abusive

This is all well and good except why promote a deadly dangerous drug like alcohol in this way when there is a much safer alternative: cannabis. The president and this cop and this professor should all share a nice spliff have a few laughs and then maybe consume some hot wings. I know I will not allow my children to watch these ‘public officials’ imbibing yeast excrement just because it happens to be legal.

Posted by Mr Nerb Donahue | Report as abusive

Norma, the issue became inflamed when Sgt. Crowley refused to identify himself to the homeowner. Now it turns out that Sgt. Crowley lied in his incident report as well. Whether the three of them can still meet after this revelation is uncertain. One thing is certain, the Cambridge Police Department and Officer Crowley have a bigger problem than Barack Obama or Professor Gates. This whole incident is unfortunate. Relations between police and citizens don’t need another setback.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/07/27/gates.a rrest/

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

If all Americas problems could be solved that way! Perfect use of his time… right after the beer, he will try to get the healthcare of Americans on track. Right after that. Yes he can!

Posted by Dark Angel | Report as abusive

are you ok with the tapes of gates screaming at the cop being released getplaning?do you think the cops mother needs an apology?

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

This is a great thing that the president is doing. Some people think that he should stick to more important issues. Indeed racial relations (if you want to make it a racial issue) OR civil rights and liberties (the real issue here) are just as (if not more) important. To me this is clearly a civil rights as regardless of the way it happened. Laws that trick or trap people into breaking should be reviewed.

Posted by Clarence | Report as abusive

Norma, thanks for your husband’s service..I respect the position of police officer. It’s a public service position, just like the president’s. I have lost all respect for the president turning this into a racial matter…it’s arrogant, rude, and none of his business. The federal government does not have rule over every tiny aspect of the state government like he obviously believes it does. The federal government is only there for inter-state protection/relations.
The media is trying so hard to spin this to make the officer look bad, but he was the wrong one to pick on. Over and over, they fail to admit that the other arresting officer was black, that the officer teaches on diversity and has repeatedly proven himself above board in that area. I wouldn’t like to give anyone mouth to mouth, yet he’s given a black man mouth to mouth…if he were racist, he would’ve skipped over that one for sure.
I would certainly be grateful if the neighbor called the police if they thought someone was breaking in my house…and I would be grateful when someone showed up just to check. Saying “thanks” “everything’s ok” and “I’m the owner…see?” would’ve solved everything…instead the man got all arrogant and mean…see what happens??
The president needs to back off this subject, issue and apology, and get back to running the country…now.
And the officer never said he’s down a drink with the prez…

Posted by Ldy | Report as abusive

Just how much money is Obama’s stupid White House beer-fest going to cost us, the American taxpayers, already irrationally saddled with his ludicrous trillions of dollars, senselessly mushrooming to incomprehensible heights, mindlessly whirling us at warp-speed toward a galactic black hole of scandalous, nation-annihilating debt?

I can only hope there is someone left in the news media with enough integrity left to find out how much the Stupid White House, through its Stupid President, spends of the taxpayers’ money to fly the parties (probably on a private military jet) to Washington and back–all because Obama is too stupid to merely apologize.

He should have to pay for it out of his own dim-witted pockets–but he won’t. Taxpayers have to keep paying for his farcical, failing-on-the-job, astonishing stupidity.

It’s peanuts, of course, compared to the indecipherable trillions he is gushing down his sordid, socialistic rat-hole schemes–but it’s the principle of the thing.

I hope every taxpayer in America deducts from their 2009 IRS bill the amount he squanders of the taxpayers’ money for that White House beer-bust–all because he first acted stupidly, and then second was too concending to apologize for it!

We are ceaselessly told what a magnificently brilliant man Obama is–even Almighty God, to hear the slimy, scum-sucking sycophantic media toads sleazily exterminating the once-objective American press with their putrid, perfidious kowtowing, while stupidly singing his squalid praises so hideously off-key that they make the wretched Barney Fife in the Mayberry choir sound like a silky-smooth, velvet-voice Pavarotti.

Posted by Jesse H. Merrell | Report as abusive

I like the Mr. Nerb’s spliff idea. It is certainly no more ridiculous than this entire matter.

Posted by Russ in PA | Report as abusive

This situation is difficult as we all know and does touch on the very sensitive issue of race in America. It’s really a shame that so many are in denial and other’s are embittered on the other side. In addition, false logic will not help anyone come to positive resolution.

That being said, it’s important to understand that saying any white police officer could not be racist based on the fact that s/he befriends, marries or tries to help a black person is irrelevant. That would be like saying male chauvinists could never befriend, marry, or help women in a time of need. If this were true it would certainly lead to many other discussions.

Racism as it originally manifested in the USA is at some level recognized as majority-enforced white preference (or supremacy). However, the ill-will and hatred this phenomenon spawned is certainly not limited to white people.

I personally believe that America can turn the page on race issues, but perhaps the real problem is that many people are too lazy to find a new hatred to latch onto when this one works so well.

See this link – http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionar y/racism

Posted by hooismerican | Report as abusive

It’s interesting to note that no one mentions the black officer who was in the photo of Gates yelling. He backed up the police officer in question.

I suppose that is an inconvenient fact and no one wants to say anything about it because it screws up their story of racism.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive