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Obama’s (Artful) Non-Apology Apology

The transcript from Mr. Obama’s walk-on yesterday, courtesy of the Boston Globe:


White House transcript of Obama’s comments

THE PRESIDENT: Hey, it’s a cameo appearance. Sit down, sit down. I need to help Gibbs out a little bit here.

Q Are you the new press secretary?

THE PRESIDENT: If you got to do a job, do it yourself. (Laughter.)

I wanted to address you guys directly because over the last day and a half obviously there’s been all sorts of controversy around the incident that happened in Cambridge with professor Gates and the police department there.

I actually just had a conversation with Sergeant Jim Crowley, the officer involved. And I have to tell you that as I said yesterday, my impression of him was that he was a outstanding police officer and a good man, and that was confirmed in the phone conversation — and I told him that.

And because this has been ratcheting up — and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up — I want to make clear that in my choice of words I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sergeant Crowley specifically — and I could have calibrated those words differently. And I told this to Sergeant Crowley.

I continue to believe, based on what I have heard, that there was an overreaction in pulling professor Gates out of his home to the station. I also continue to believe, based on what I heard, that professor Gates probably overreacted as well. My sense is you’ve got two good people in a circumstance in which neither of them were able to resolve the incident in the way that it should have been resolved and the way they would have liked it to be resolved.

The fact that it has garnered so much attention I think is a testimony to the fact that these are issues that are still very sensitive here in America. So to the extent that my choice of words didn’t illuminate, but rather contributed to more media frenzy, I think that was unfortunate.

What I’d like to do then I make sure that everybody steps back for a moment, recognizes that these are two decent people, not extrapolate too much from the facts — but as I said at the press conference, be mindful of the fact that because of our history, because of the difficulties of the past, you know, African-Americans are sensitive to these issues. And even when you’ve got a police officer who has a fine track record on racial sensitivity, interactions between police officers and the African-American community can sometimes be fraught with misunderstanding.

My hope is, is that as a consequence of this event this ends up being what’s called a "teachable moment," where all of us instead of pumping up the volume spend a little more time listening to each other and try to focus on how we can generally improve relations between police officers and minority communities, and that instead of flinging accusations we can all be a little more reflective in terms of what we can do to contribute to more unity. Lord knows we need it right now — because over the last two days as we’ve discussed this issue, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but nobody has been paying much attention to healthcare. (Laughter.)

I will not use this time to spend more words on healthcare, although I can’t guarantee that that will be true next week. I just wanted to emphasize that — one last point I guess I would make. There are some who say that as president I shouldn’t have stepped into this at all because it’s a local issue. I have to tell you that that part of it I disagree with. The fact that this has become such a big issue I think is indicative of the fact that race is still a troubling aspect of our society. Whether I were black or white, I think that me commenting on this and hopefully contributing to constructive — as opposed to negative — understandings about the issue, is part of my portfolio.

So at the end of the conversation there was a discussion about — my conversation with Sergeant Crowley, there was discussion about he and I and professor Gates having a beer here in the White House. We don’t know if that’s scheduled yet — (laughter) — but we may put that together.

He also did say he wanted to find out if there was a way of getting the press off his lawn. (Laughter.) I informed him that I can’t get the press off my lawn. (Laughter.) He pointed out that my lawn is bigger than his lawn. (Laughter.) But if anybody has any connections to the Boston press, as well as national press, Sergeant Crowley would be happy for you to stop trampling his grass.

All right. Thank you, guys.

Mr. Obama didn’t apologize to Sergeant Crowley.

Which is odd, since he apologizes so easily for the United States.

Of course, being a Democrat means never having to say you’re sorry about yourself.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, July 25th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

31 Responses to “Obama’s (Artful) Non-Apology Apology”

  1. Melly says:

    Apology my eye!

    This portion of his statement annoyed me so:

    “I continue to believe, based on what I have heard, that there was an overreaction in pulling professor Gates out of his home to the station. I also continue to believe, based on what I heard, that professor Gates probably overreacted as well. My sense is you’ve got two good people in a circumstance in which neither of them were able to resolve the incident in the way that it should have been resolved and the way they would have liked it to be resolved.”

    Must really annoy Barry that he can’t turn Sargeant Crowley into “Joe the Cop.”

  2. curvyred says:

    1) He was not “pulled out of his home”

    2) The good prof was deliberately causing a scene to bolster his profile, I will continue to believe that.

    3) The other good Law Prof, seems oblivious to how the law actually works – hm did he really have good grades in college – let me look at the transcript – opps nope no access.

    4) His non-apology seems to have come from the Letterman book of non-apologies – let us blame the people who misunderstood his intent rather than just apologize.

    5) A few of my friends who voted for the one, are now really examining him more closely – they are disappointed in this entire episode.

    • neocon mom says:

      “The other good Law Prof, seems oblivious to how the law actually works ”

      I agree wholeheartedly with all of your other points, but I’d have to say Obama’s “apology” was very lawyer-esque (and not dissimilar to a non-apology issued by Dick Durbin a couple of years back.) It was frigid, long-winded and he never gave up any ground–still asserted some hotly contested “facts” as facts and admitted no wrongdoing on his part, but perhaps a slight misstep by Gates (one matched by Sgt. Crowley, in his opinion.) He was careful to say he didn’t “malign” Crowley or the Cambridge Police. He was simply trying to cover his a** and continue to use this situation to advance the notion that racial profiling is rampant.

      I have a feeling that the “beer at the White House” isn’t going to ever happen and was an invite made for p.r. purposes.

    • curvyred says:

      I agree with your assessment of his current statement – it was long, drawn out and circular.

      The following statement he made led me to make point 3:

      “I have to say I am surprised by the controversy surrounding my statement, because 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 said.

      http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=8153681&page=1

      Regarding the beer – yes I agree that will never happen. Just a PR move – so Barry can pretend like he extended an olive branch to heal the situation.

    • proreason says:

      Obamy has once again demonstrated his skill at Affirmative Lieing.

      cut 1. the police were stupid.
      cut 2. the media overreacted to my perfectly reasonable comments.
      cut 3. of course I didn’t mean the police were stupid. The officer is a fine man, but “I continue to believe, based on what I have heard, that there was an overreaction”.

      There could be 3 or 4 more rounds of this if the incident doesn’t go away. If necessary, the Moron will eventually slander Professor Gates and award the policeman the Medal of Honor.

      Next year, he will be quoting whichever level of lie suits his purpose at that time.

  3. proreason says:

    “not extrapolate too much from the facts”

    This buffoon makes Orwell’s nightmare look like a sweet dream.

    I can’t get over the audacity of what he is willing to say. There is no limit. No limit whatsoever.

    The leader of the greatest country that ever existed is totally disconnected from reality, his own actions, and his own words.

    • MinnesotaRush says:

      So, PR .. did you mean the snake oil harpy who lied and bought his way into the position of the highest office of the greatest country that ever existed … ?

      But yeah .. lites on – nobody’s home! A very, very grandiose and sickened dude.

  4. No matter what, no Democrat is EVER held accountable for what he says.

    They can be as blunt and obviously honest as possible – as Obama was with his original comments in this instance – and it’s always not what they “meant”…

  5. Professor_Repulso says:

    Apparently the ability to holler ‘racist, racist, racist!’ is a political tool of very great importance. For some people. I think this hits the mark: “Barack Obama is an urban rube. And he surrounds himself with likeminded – or, I should say, like-impassioned – urban rubes. Some fancy these people sophisticated, but while they give the illusion of sophistication, they possess none of its substance. They were simply raised wrong and rendered bereft of logic, as they never learned to subordinate emotion to reason so that the former wouldn’t cloud the latter. They are people who don’t cross their t’s and dot their i’s in anything, be it philosophy, personal life or policy. They are ruined souls. And they are bringing us to ruin.”

  6. wardmama4 says:

    If you got to do a job, do it yourself

    The One ™ is such a vapid, stupid schmuck – he can’t even get an extremely famous quote correct –

    That’s what I always say; if you want a thing to be well done, You must do it yourself.
    [1858 Longfellow Poems (1960)</blockquote

    And he's the smartest that the DNC could get to run for POTUS – someone tell me why anyone votes for 'em? Ever.

  7. wardmama4 says:

    If you got to do a job, do it yourself

    The One ™ is such a vapid, stupid schmuck – he can’t even get an extremely famous quote correct –

    That’s what I always say; if you want a thing to be well done, You must do it yourself.
    [1858 Longfellow Poems (1960)

    And he’s the smartest that the DNC could get to run for POTUS – someone tell me why anyone votes for ’em? Ever.

  8. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Every time he opens his mouth to speak, he withdraws from the sum of human knowledge.

  9. canary says:

    It’s okay to profile our U.S. soldiers, tea party goers, pro-life supporters, as white extremists, Christians,

    I can imagine the danger the police will be in with Obama’s new breed of anything goes when police approach you. I hope our youth don’t think Obama will invite them for a beer.
    Anyone white person that exhibits Gate’s behavior needs to understand they are not included in this new fad, and as it has always been, such behavior most likely will lead to disorderly public conduct, and resisting arrest. charges.

  10. Rusty Shackleford says:

    And the final step in the rationalization process that I was talking about last night, is the “I think we should all put this behind us and move forward” which is liberalspeak for “talk to the hand”.

    He’s done with it, therefore you should be too.

    After beers at the WH, are they all gonna sit around and listen to those great jazz albums Barry has?

    No…it will be a photo-op, extremely-limited-exchange type of “get-em-in-get-em-out” thing.

    • artboyusa says:

      Barry has great jazz albums??? Why wasn’t I informed of this? Like who? Like what? I wonder if he digs all those cool young cats who are on ECM or all that new stuff that’s coming out of Scandinavia or is his taste the usual Miles, Coltrane, Bird, Dexter etc etc…I bet it’s the latter, not that I’m dissing any of those guys in any way, but Barry’s pretty conventional in most things.

      And what’s with all this (laughter) in the transcript? How creepy and sycophantic does that sound? It reminds me of those recordings of Stalin’s speeches where no one in the audience dares to be the first to stop applauding.

  11. RDubJr says:

    At the happy hour deal at the White House, is Sgt Crowley’s momma going to be invited?

  12. wardmama4 says:

    Like Obama drinks a beer ever – much less with anyone he disagrees with – never forget his opening words to Republicans the first week he was in office – I WON.

    It won’t happen at all – he is not the ‘have the guys over for a beer’ kind of person – he is just doing a Hillary and it comes through with crap like this and of course his talking down to people – like he uses the word ‘folks’ (only on the campaign trail or when he is in a town meeting to ‘be jist likes you’) – which I do and would find very, very condescending and insulting.

    Do you know what, where and how much about Waygyu beef? Not bloody likely that 75% of Americans had a clue – and that makes him just like us, how exactly? I can’t afford it, can you? Can you fly to New York for a show and a dinner – on the spur of the moment? I can’t afford it, can you? What a schmuck.

    And the people who still buy into The One’s ™ bs drivel and lies are even bigger schmucks and racists.

    God Help America.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Wardmama, you disrespect schmucks all over the world. :-p

      It’s hard to come up with a term that best describes this vacuous, malodorous, self-involved thing.

      So many terms come to mind but none of them are the perfect fit. I would have to defer to behavioral psychologists for the perfect descriptor.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      Blowhard comes to mind!!

      “I’ll huff and I’ll puff ……………”

    • proreason says:

      “So many terms come to mind ”

      He is so unique in his megalomania, narcissism and ignorance that new words need to be invented.

      Megalomoronicisist

    • Liberals Demise says:

      Megalomoronicisistblowhard ……….. there now, perfect!!

    • Kytross says:

      I am reminded of the Monty Python sketch “the argument clinic” where we get the great insult:

      You vacuous, toffy-nosed, malodorous, pervert!

      Which doesn’t really fit. After all, BHO certainly is not toffy-nosed. We’ll have to ‘calibrate’ those words so we don’t give the impression that we are maligning the president specifically. To malign him we’d have to say something that was false.

  13. jobeth says:

    “… I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sergeant Crowley specifically…”

    Wha????? Excuse me for asking an obvious question prez, but who the h*** else would you be maligning with the words you spoke? So you want me to believe your schpeel instead of my lying ears?

    Yeah…I’m that dumb…NOT.

    I find liars who lie about what they KNOW you heard them say is one of the most insulting things they can say. Of course they don’t care, and may even enjoy the fact they insult your intelligence but it still is one of the more irritating things I hate about this man boy.

    Oops, I didn’t actually say “boy”, you probably misunderstood my meaning…I should have ” calibrated those words differently” and then you wouldn’t have misunderstood what I was saying. I didn’t actually mean that obalmy was a boy. That should be perfectly clear.

    After all, his statement was a ‘teaching moment” for me. I now know how to “calibrate” my words.

  14. JohnMG says:

    ……”Anyone white person that exhibits Gate’s behavior needs to understand they are not included in this new fad,……”

    Well, obviously Gates could benefit from following the following suggestions by Chris Rock;

    #1. Obey the law.
    #2. Use common sense.
    #3. Stop immediately.
    #4. Turn that sh*t off.
    #5. Be polite.
    #6. STFU.
    #7. Get a white friend.
    #8. Don’t ride with a mad woman.

    But then again, if a white guy had said those things, he’s be a racist.

  15. Semper-Par-FI says:

    People, our President is a lunatic. That is why it is so hard to believe the things that spew from his mouth. The next time the President is on television just keep in mind that he is a lunatic and then everything he says becomes clear.


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