July 23rd, 2009
03:25 PM ET
5 years ago

NRCC targets Obama for saying Cambridge cop 'acted stupidly'

(CNN) – The National Republican Congressional Committee came to the defense of the Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer who arrested black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., attacking President Obama for saying Wednesday night the officer 'acted stupidly.'

In a statement targeting several House Democrats from Massachusetts, NRCC communications director Ken Spain said, "This is certainly a questionable rush to judgment coming from a president who hasn't exactly been quick to call out unconscionable behavior by a merciless foreign dictator or gotten his facts straight before advocating a trillion-dollar mistake to address our ailing economy."

"Is it really presidential for him to cast harsh judgment of a law enforcement official without all the facts?" said Spain.

The statement calls on Massachusetts Democrats to say whether they agree with the president's assessment. The National Republican Senatorial Committee also launched a Web ad Thursday asking whether it was appropriate for Obama to reach a judgment on the matter after he himself admitted he did not know all the facts.


Filed under: NRCC • President Obama
soundoff (310 Responses)
  1. Emily

    I do not believe that President Obama responded in the most appropriate manner. Most of what he said on racial profiling is true, but saying that the cops acted stupidly only added more fuel to a very controversial issue. It seems like there are two very different sides to this story with no indication of which one is correct. With such unclear facts and a powerful pulpit at his disposal, it would have been better for Obama to have been a little more balanced in his assesment. This being said, I think the NRCC's approach to the matter is no better. This should not turn into a republican v. democrat issue as drawing further divides fails to achieve any progress. Overall, I think everyone needs to settle down and stop making accusations until the facts have a chance to come to light. The cop may have accted inappropriately, but he is being demonized before everything has even been sorted out.

    July 23, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. Jake

    The media coverage of this whole thing (especially CNN's) is just painfully, painfully stupid. With everything else going on, this is what you idiots focus on? Seriously?

    July 23, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Barb,

    Does freedom of speach no goes for everyone. When you have nothing to offer you attack, the GOP's are good at that.

    July 23, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. Bob S

    I am an ardent Obama supporter, but this time I believe he went off the deep end. By his own admission he doesn't know all of the facts, and the use of the word "stupid" is below his pay grade.
    Clearly Blacks and Latinos are sometimes unfairly targeted by law enforcement. However, it is also true that sometimes legitimate acts by law enforcement are misconstrued and played as racial. When you rise to the level of the President of the United States it is imperative that you get all of your facts lined up straight before you venture an opinion.

    July 23, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. Lame Duck

    nazario a. gonzales without knowing what President Obama knows, you responded "stupidly"

    July 23, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. Jenefer Ford

    The NRCC needs to shut up and realize that everything doesn't warrant a response. The President answered the question correctly. Gates entered his own home; was found there not robbing it and not looking suspicious, probably just a little in shock. Policemen are trained to recognize this as well as how to be diplomatic. Did this guy miss training or WAS HE JUST RACIST? How would you feel if this happened regularly in your community? GET REAL.

    July 23, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. Wake-me-when-it's-over

    If President Obama wasn't so determined to show-off his ability to answer questions on the fly... he would have respectfully answered that he had no comment. In the scheme of things...this one-incident-that-happens-all-the-time-everywhere-but-we-have-to-make-it-news-that-lasts-for-four-days-situation, should never have been a part of a
    PRESIDENTIAL address to the nation.

    The world is watching, as President Obama continues to paint America with a dirty brush.

    July 23, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. Donna from Colorado Springs

    You might know that instead of coming up with their own health care plan, the Republicans sit and wait for Obama to do or say something that they can pounce on and criticize! The president was right in what he said. The Republicans, as well as the rest of us know that some police personell do profile certain groups of people.The cop is wrong for refusing to apologize and acting arrogantly. Maybe "Acting stupidly" wasn't the best choice of words he could have chosen to say, but he was simply expressing how he felt. Noone is perfect here, and the Republicans are being really hypocritical in judging a Democrat.....considering the fact that they have been caught in cheating and lying scandals lately! People who live in glass houses!!!!!!!!

    July 23, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. Lizman

    One thing I do know for sure is America will get worse in the future. Future for America is so dark. You can agree or not with Obama but if it were a white man a Director at Harvard University at his own door, he should never had a police after him. You said Americans or Republicans, better you say, where are your minds...

    July 23, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  10. Steph

    They did act stupidly when arresting a man at his own home. I appreciate his honesty. He calls it like he sees it.

    July 23, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. Scout2241

    Having heard Rick Sanchez read the arresting officer's report on the arrest of the Harvard professor, it seems to me that Rick should have looked at the picture of the arrest before he arrogantly defended that officer. How could he have been pictured at his front door in handcuffs when the report claimed he had followed the officer down the walk? And, further, the Cambridge police department and city officials obviously didn't agree with Rick's assessment. It really doesn't make any differance whether this was racial, or just dimwitted
    arrogance. This cop needs to be disciplined. Our city (Sarasota) is currently having a major problem because of an officer who kicked and stood on a defenceless individual ON VIDEO CAMERA. Did this have anything to do with the fact that the arrestee was Hispanic and spoke no English? No, of course not. That just allowed the police chief to give him a $400 check to shut up, delivered by the officer who was supposedly in charge of an investigation after the video was leaked to the press.

    July 23, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. Patrick - Indianapolis

    I think you are all stupid for not realizing the President was asked his opinion on the subject. Opinions do not necessarily contain facts and he also stated that the man was a friend and the opinion was biased. What more do you need? He gave his opinion. I happen to agree with his opinion on the matter. So what? Next you will complain about him not saying 'excuse me' if he sneezes. It never ends. Besides that, this thing is being ran on the drudge which is like foxnews of the internet. I'll just go ahead and let you know what kinds of statements to expect from drudge viewers. "terrorist and kill him" come to mind. Right wingers are like children. If only most of you read the bibles you thumped. Morons.

    July 23, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. Joe

    The officer didn't know who he was dealing with! Was the officer upset with the fact that Professor Gates stood up for his rights? Let us all put this one to rest. II's a sad day when we get another dose of what may or not be racial bias. I'm a white man that has lived his life in DC.

    I will acknowlege bias but, I'll not allow my fellow Americans to use it for gain! If I were Latino, Asian or Black ... I personally would stop the blame, look at myself and family, and start making changes for them and myself!

    A starting point involves participation in your kid's life! Hard ... YES! ... Necessary ... NO QUESTION!

    Please relax and understand your purpose!

    July 23, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  14. Clark Williams

    Let's see, the Democrats continue to work on health care reform.

    The Republicans continue to come up with any excuse not to work.

    The man was arrested in his own home without probable cause.

    The police department had to drop the charges because there was no probable cause.

    I have a feeling we're going to hear a lot more about this cop's problem with probable cause in the future.

    In the meantime, the Reps slow things down so the country grinds to a halt. Welcome to their strategy.

    July 23, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  15. BJC

    Obama clearly states, "I don't know all the facts" so to call someone stupid would seem wrong to most law abiding citizens. He owes an apology to this officer.

    What George Bush has to do with this is "Nothing". Let it go! We have a new President now. It really makes you seem very petty. Just let it go!

    July 23, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. ANGIE

    Ben in Texas July 23rd, 2009 4:05 pm ET
    _______________________________________________________
    AMEN!

    July 23, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. dtg

    Please listen to his exact remarks. Yes, he said he didn't have all the facts. However, if the situation progressed as he heard it did, then the "police" acted stupidly; not the police officer. At no time did he say the officer was stupid.

    Also, since when does a person [President or otherwise] not have the right to express their PERSONAL opinion. I don't know where it is written that you give that right up!

    July 23, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. Sheryl

    African too: first of all I don't believe you are an African American, next no matter what color or race had this happen to you I think you would be a little hot, maybe a little? So stop the bull!!!!!!

    July 23, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. S. Davis

    President Obama did not say the individual was stupid, only that the behavior was stupid. And let's face it, it was stupid.

    I understand the officer's obligation to check out a complaint, but once he realized he was confronting an innocent man in his own home, a different tone and tactics were called for.

    Imagine yourself in that position of having to justify to a officer with a gun your right to be in your own home. I think you would get very annoyed very quickly too.

    And a simple apology would have done wonders here.

    July 23, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Tom Meyer

    The cop was not only showing his stupidity he demonstrated his ignorance of the law. Don't matter, black or white, or other. The neighbor should have been confronted to explain his call to the police. Think about the police knocking on your door and taking you away in handcuffs after you verified this was your home and the police say-don't care we are taking you to jail. Shame on the police and yes the cop does owe an apology. The President was absolutely right-call it what is was -STUPID!!

    July 23, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. June

    The Cambridge Police acted on a bad tip. Once the professor Gates was in his own house there was no break in legally. President Obama has spouser bills on "Racial Profiling" when he was in the Illinois senate, all the critics have not lift on finger to address this problem. Remember your opinions are the cheapest commodities in the world.

    July 23, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. Joanne

    I watched President Obama's speech, and my impression was that the President was grappling for a word, and instead of calling the officer a racist outright, he unfortunately, used a word that defines racism.... stupid! We all know why the Professor was arrested. The officer was not about to apologize, excuse himself or anything like that to this black man.

    July 23, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. Teo

    Hey NRCC, the president was asked a question in a news conference. I respect him for answering it. Perhaps we can all learn something from this. First, our black president feels strongly that his race IS frequently targeted in racial profiling and clearly Gates (in his what white folks would call "over-reaction" )has been conditioned to feel the same way. That should be a concern for all of us.
    The incident should also teach all of us how we should behave when confronted by a law enforcement officer. I bet Gates didn't fully understand the procedures the officer was following or the reasons for them. Gates could use his position to teach us all what to do, as we are not taught how to handle situations with the police. I'm sure the officers would like the public to learn what to do should they show up on a person's porch as well.

    July 23, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. MJM

    I hope the police stands his ground and does not apologize. When the professor did not show his ID for the officer to see then ehe officer had the right to do what he did. I am so tired of the word racism being thrown up everytime somebody does something.

    That's our president for you though, doing something before he knows all the facts. Oh my, am I being racist now??? Gimme a break!!!! Let me tell you something, white, black, purple or green, you got the very same blood color as me. If your blood is different than red, then I want to see it. If an officer came to my door and wanted to see my ID, I would show it to him faster than he could blink.

    July 23, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  25. Cue the phony outrage once again...

    All you rightwingers are good for is phony outrage.....

    Any of you think it's "smart" to arrest someone for being in their own house?

    You gun-toting whackjobs would have started shooting the cops if they did the same thing to you.

    July 23, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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