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. SO SAD

    How do you explain all this to the little kids? Come on adults, lets try to get along for the sake of the men and woman of tomorrow!

    July 23, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. KC

    Once again we Americans have either a hearing problem or a listening problem. The president did not say that the officer "was" stupid. What he said was that once ID and residency was established, the police acted "stupidly" in arresting Mr. Gates. As there were no "perpetrators" in the home when the officer confronted Gates in his own foyer, after proper Id was made the officer should have explained the situation and left. I have read numerous bloggers praising the officer and condemning Prof. Gates based on the police report. Why is everyone assuming the police report to be accurate and true? Because a white officer wrote it? People of color have been profiled and lied upon for years. As a black man in America, please forgive me if after watching and hearing all the racist diatibe and hatred hurled at myself and other black men including the president at some of the Mccain and Palin rallies during the campaign(to which Gov. Palin never uttered a word against such vitriol which I am sure she had to have heard at least some of it),please forgive me if I am still a liitle jaded in my belief that we now live in a post-racial society.

    July 23, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. Rhonda

    Our President is human and he has feelings for his friends. However the republicans need to come up with better ideas for our country rather than attacking. This is so stupid. Emails, commericial. It is amazing how fast you can place an attack ad, put you can come up with one good idea on econony, healthcare, or anything else.

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

    My son-in-law is a police officer & when they respond to a burglary call they ask to see ID to verify if the person they find there is in fact the homeowner. This idiot was not being racially profiled he was being treated exactly the same as any other citizen found in a home that was being investigated for a burglary. His refusal to produce his ID was no more than an attempt to provoke the officer into a "racial" incident. The President's Secret Service detail could easily explain law enforcement protocol to the President if he had taken the time to ask a professional, rather than blindly calling a brave first responder "stupid."

    July 23, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. Marc in Virginia

    Obama won't let the facts get in the way of his argument.

    July 23, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. Ruth Palmer, Oberlin, Ohio

    Since when does a policeman have the right to arrest someone because the person is "reacting angrily" to being treated like a criminal? By the time of the arrest, the policeman knew that the man was Professor Gates of Harvard and he lived at that address. He should have said "Sorry, Professor Gates, just doing my job", and went on his way. Instead, because the professor dared to show outrage at being accused, he was arrested. That arrest was STUPID AND ARROGANT! Though most policeman would have simply backed off, this officer had to show this old, Black man, that he was boss and no one should "back talk" to him. The officer was wrong. He should be reprimanded.

    July 23, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. Jeremy in Florida

    Obama has no buisness calling someone stupid especially without any facts. Even the neighbors said the harvard professor was acting irrationally and they witnessed the entire incident. Instead of acting like an uneducated retard and showed the police officer his ID he instead accused the cop of being a racist when all the cop did was his JOB. We pay the cops to protect us and when you treat them like this it serves your tail right when you get locked up. Is it the cop who is racist or the man shouting at the cop doing his job thats racist. You tell me!!!!! And What nazario said is FACT. Obama is beyond stupid in this and most other things as well. Welcome to Socialism!!!

    July 23, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. David

    Ben, you are solidly wrong if you think the majority of Americans share Obama's opinion concerning this incident. He is wrong to have taken a position without knowing the facts.

    July 23, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. Mario, mtl, ca.

    The facts are the president makes his comments after he said that the professor received excuses from the mayor and chief of police don't forget that, or you just forget to mention it,,,,

    July 23, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  10. Ben

    I can't believe that the Republicans are actually putting themselves into this issue defending that police officer. Clearly these people have absolutely no interest in having political power ever again.

    July 23, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Gee, that surprises me. The Party of NO jumps on anything this guy does. If he breaks wind the GOP says that it indicates that he is siding with terriorts. I think that he misspoke when I heard the comments last night. I do believe that given the circumstances that I as a caucasian male would have been treated differently. But for the GOP to make this an issue after cartoons and derrogatory racists songs presented by some of the Repubs in the recent months is hypocritical.

    July 23, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. Steven

    Ben In Texas...Bush may have gotten us into 2 wars but look at what Obama has done. Iraq was made so unpopular so he just made Afghanistan his war...nothing has changed but geography. What has he delivered on...NOTHING. All his promises have come up empty & now he wants to start playing the race card. This was not a situation that the President should get involved in. And a President should not cal any group or individual stupid. His TRUE colors are beginning to show, his words are becoming hollow & his promises empty. He has done nothing but talk, talk, talk. I will give him credit...he is good at talking & that is what got him elected but he is proving he wasn't ready & isn't capable of handling the job.

    July 23, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. obama is a liar

    the police officer doesn't need to apologize for crap Gates does for acting stupid and trying to play the race card

    July 23, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. manemang

    Both the professor and the police guy are wrong. Common sense dictates that the officer identify the person found in the house. Common sense demands that the professor identify himself regardless of who he is, the color of his skin and the manner that he pees. After both issues are resolved, grown up's will have a handshake and part ways. But the Professor was too full of himself and his blackness and the officer so macho and power drunk that it escalated. As for President Obama, that was his opinion. I bet you though, if this professor was white, he would not have been arrested. Well I guess my blackness is a little lighter now.

    July 23, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. Tyran

    We always act like cops are above criticism. It's the truth and the criticism is politically motivated! A horizontal issue.

    July 23, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. Bleebo

    it was indeed a "stupid act' on the police behalf. And for the cop to say he will never apoligize is proof in just what they feel is appropo. it is awful that we fuel this hate in America.

    July 23, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. Bea from Texas

    What bothers me is, this man was arrested in his home even after he produced his ID...TO THE G.O.P that is not wrong? if the officer was so right, why were the charges dropped?

    The G.O.P has been sending racist emails even one that had the president dressed as a witch doctor and no one says anything about that but when the President says something he feels in his heart, it is irresponsible?

    SHAME ON THE G.O.P

    July 23, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. Bill

    The president should apologize to this policeman. After hearing the sargeant give his very plausible version of events I am sure Professor Gates was caught throwing a hissy fit while playing the race card. After all he is part of the Harvard iteligensia and is entitled to preferential treatment..

    July 23, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. kpc

    The Cambridge Police Department validated on Tuesday that it was a "stupid act" by dismissing all charges!! Obama is absolutely right on some police actions taken against people of color. The case in Texas with the Bellaire, Texas police shooting a teenager in his parent's driveway for driving his mother's car to Burger King, even after his parents came out and told the "stupid policeman" it was there car and son! I am almost certain there are many more stories like that one all across America. Go Obama tell the truth; tell exactly what so many americans want to sweep under the rug!!!

    July 23, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. Rob from MO

    I expect Dr Gates was a bit irritated; he had just returned from a long trip and had had to break into HIS OWN HOME. Here comes a cop to hassle him. There is no doubt the cop acted stupidly. The charges were dropped, weren't they. The RNC is desperate.

    July 23, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. Steph

    The Rethuglicans really like to waste their money on petty things. Our President is getting this country back on track (check out the rally on the stock market) and is working with everyone who is serious about health care reform (democrats, the sensible republicans, industry leaders, AARP, AMA, etc...) to get health care right, and he is moving us in the right direction in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Keep up the silly ads, and you will continue to look childish (and continue to lose elections)!

    July 23, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. dlb

    I agree with President Obama..Often police act out of anger and think they are above the law and will suffer no consequence for their actions!

    July 23, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. Richard in California

    Republicans in Congress denying racial bias and decrying reverse discrimination again. There's a shocker. Do they not realize that their racial attacks on soon-to-be Justice Sotomayor were televised, and reported on?

    Or is this just like Sen. DeMint's hypocritical attack of "look, President Obama is taking my politically motivated, and pointing them out to the world?" again?

    Are we also going to find out that this Cambridge cop was also an affirmative action hire, just like the dyslexic Frank Ricci was when he sued New Haven in 1995 under the Americans with Disabilities Act to be hired as a firefighter?

    July 23, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. Grog in Ohio

    Here's one for the GOP... Grog says the GOP is acting stupidly. How exactly does one "disturb the peace" while standing in one's own home? It seems perfectly clear that the cop was indeed stupid... at best. Blatantly racist at worst. I'd say the president's words were quite mild.

    July 23, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. John

    If this where reversed would there be such an outcry and would obama say they acted stupidly. No he wouldn't, in fact we would never hear about it. his remarks show how prejudice he realy is and the fact that he is friends with the Prof., he probally made the call to ave the charges droped

    July 23, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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