Tales from the Trail

Who acted stupidly, the police or the president?

The tussle between a black Harvard scholar and the white police officer who arrested him is turning into a quesion on presidential judgment. 

Did President Barack Obama really need to take sides in this particular case?

It was a bit of a surprise this week when he allowed himself to get embroiled in the debate on race sparked by the arrest of Henry Louis Gates right at the end of his prime-time “get healthcare done now” news conference.

OBAMA

The International Brotherhood of Police Officers is furious, accusing the president of alienating public safetly officers across the country. Online polls in Massachusetts also show strong support for the arresting officer.

And suddenly the media have something far juicier to chew on than an occasionally dry debate about the intricacies of public and private health provisions.

“I think it was a pretty straightforward commentary that you probably don’t need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who’s in his own home,” Obama told ABC on Thursday, further fueling the debate.

The First Draft: postmortem

Did President Barack Obama step on his own healthcare message last night?

Morning TV shows led with his comments about  black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates who was arrested after trying to get into his own home.

OBAMA/Obama said police acted “stupidly,” a comment likely to lose him some friends in law enforcement, and that the incident was a reminder the race issue “still haunts us.”

It was a brand new comment from the president on a hot-button issue: race relations in America.