It's Friday. So that's cool.
So Obama called the behavior of Cambridge cops stupid when they arrested Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who happens to be black, in his own home this week. The president admitted both that he was friends with Gates and that he didn't really know all of the facts before he made this statement.
I'm not really sure whether the police in Cambridge acted stupidly or not (I guess it all depends upon how Gates was acting as the police tried to sort out this strange situation where Gates was breaking into his own house), but this statement seemed like a pretty clear misstep by Obama. You just can't admit that you're biased and that you don't know all of the facts and then go on to say the police acted stupidly.
But given the hundreds or thousands of times that Bush spoke stupidly (anyone else still remember when he justified the Iraq war by saying it was because Saddam Hussein had threatened to kill his daddy?), I think I can probably forgive Obama for succumbing to emotion and speaking sort of recklessly, especially in a situation where a friend of his was arrested after being investigated for breaking into his own home.
Anyway, it's still far from clear that the Cambridge police weren't acting foolishly. I can tell you as a prosecutor who watches the actions of Austin juries on a regular basis that the people here in our town would probably be pretty unwilling to support the police in a case where a man was arrested after being found "breaking into" his own home (and even more suspicious of the police if the man arrested was black). Personally, I'm a little more sympathetic to the fact that the police need to be given a little room to do their job (i.e., figuring out what's actually going on in a given situation) without having to deal with a bunch of verbal abuse and theatrics (if that's what actually occurred here), but still- I don't think the president's comments were necessarily that far outside the mainstream for a lot of Americans. And as he admitted, this was a friend of his who was involved, so you can see why he might be a little touchy about this.
The real problem, of course, is that the president gave an hour long press conference supporting healthcare reform, but all anyone's talking about is this comment (about the police acting stupidly).
Oops, I gotta run. More later, probably.