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. Dee

    Dear Africa too:

    President Obama did not call anyone stupid, he was deeming the action taken by the police officer to be stupid, heavy handed and totally unecessary and I concur, please don't just read, comprehend what you read as well. if you are being accused of breaking into a house and you produce a valid drivers license/employee identification (with your picture on it), which bears the same address as the home you've been accused of breaking into.

    Shouldn't that be enough proof that you live there and your not breaking into someones home other than your own, or do you need to be arrested and humiliated because you live in a neighborhood where you don't look like your neighbors.

    I was on my way home from work recently and my husband and I was in our car behind a policy car. The police officers stopped short, got out of their car and proceeded to frisk a young black man that happened to be crossing the street. I know profiling exist, I've seen it with my own two eye. There is a problem in this country and it is about time everyone stop pretending that there isn't .

    July 23, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Julio

    Let me see if I had it right.

    The white female who calls 911 is a neighbor but she doesn't recognize Prof. Gates.

    Neighbor who doesn't recognize a black neighbor should be a while female Republican.

    July 23, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. diana

    Did the cop explain why he wanted Gates to step outside.

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

    The President should focus on the problems of the US (and he has plenty of them) and let Cambridge take care of the problem there. They have ALL the facts. His comments do nothing to improve race relations in this country with his comment.

    July 23, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. marcus (seattle)

    yeah... cops have NEVER behaved inappropriately.. and, there certainly are NO racist cops in the US, as is best shown by that stupid website put together by members of the Philadelphia PD.. there is plenty of racism in America... and, there are plenty of stupid cops in America... the idea that no one can question police behavior is ridiculous..

    July 23, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. Mary

    Obama should apologize to the police officer who was just doing his job. It's a shame that he has time to comment on minor incidents like this when our country is in economic crisis. Oh- i forgot. It's his "friend". I wonder how many "friends" Obama is serving while he's in office. If only there was a better candidate than Obama, I wouldn't have voted him. However, I also know that racial profiling still persist in this country and around the globe not just for blacks.

    July 23, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. jaylee

    President Obama was only guilty of one thing. Racial profiling.
    Had the Officer been black, none of this would have happened nor would the President have added his 2c.

    I'm 44 years old and it feels like black people have been calling me racist for a 100 years when I am NO such thing.

    Just because I'm white does not make me racist.

    The Mayor and the President both threw this Police Officer under the bus and caved under racial pressure to jump on the racial discrimination band wagon.
    This Officer is sworn to protect and serve and puts his life on the line EVERY DAY for EVERY COLOR.

    Obama just lost my trust and 2nd vote.

    July 23, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. Ashley

    Seems as if the Republicans are trying to protect the corruption going on instead of the people.Here in KY I hear that a lot of corruption is going on and people are getting tired of it.Republicans want to cover it up or make excuses for it,It's isn't as much racism if a person takes a look at all the states the law is getting carried away in all of them,this is just one incident.I do like some of the Republicans values but would like a lot more if they stood up for the people.

    July 23, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. JT in WA

    The next thing you hear will be our president telling the CA. govenor that he can't make the cuts that have been proposed to balance the CA budget....or perhaps there will be an op-ed piece in the Washington Post about an Obama comment about dog catchers in
    Minnesota mistreating wayard poochs....
    Sorry, Mr. President...you did not have ANY facts about this event, so calling the arrest "stupid" is beneath your office. Stick with national issues and worldly affairs. You get enough TV time as it is.

    July 23, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. c ilivuziman

    One thing I do know for sure is America could get worse in the future. Future for America could be so dark if some minds do not change. You can agree or not with Obama but if it were a white man who is a Director at Harvard University and was at his own door, he should never had a police officer after him. You said Americans or Republicans or else, you'd better you say, where are strong and free minds?

    July 23, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. Rich Ola

    You guys are getting this wrong. He is president but he is also human. If your friend was arrested in his own home won't you be pissed. Is it because he is president he can't be human? If someone told you this story of someone arrested for going into his own home won't you think it is a joke. If the cops were not wrong why would they release the guy? So let's zip it and move on. Obama won't not support his friend because he is president. Being president doesn't mean you should become a robot.

    July 23, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  12. Jeanine

    When you a President of the US you need to have the facts before making such a comment...end of story. And the fact that he brings race into it is just childish.....!

    July 23, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. Matthew T.

    This whole thing is ridiculous. I'm a black man living in America, and I agree with the police on this matter. The officer told Gates he was looking into a reported break in, and it was Gates who started with the racism, not the officer. Gates interferred with a police investigation, and was taken into custody, which I agree with, scholar or not. Gates is still an American citizen, and he has to follow the law just like everyone else. A lot of this was about race, and it all came from Gates. No one else. And what was going through Obama's mind when he said that he hadn't heard all the facts, but quickly passed judgement on the police? If you don't know the facts Mr. President, shut up and let the police do their jobs. Barack Obama, you acted stupidly!

    July 23, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. Pilar in NC

    It's very easy for us all to judge, but none of us were there except Dr. Gates and the police officer. You see, it's not what's said, it's the way it's said. I've been reading a lot of accounts about Dr.Gates' behavior. But I submit that maybe the tone of the police officer is what started the problem. According to the officer's own account, he was alone and thought he was facing a criminal, not a Harvard professor. Therefore I'm sure he was harsh in his tone when he asked for ID.

    I had my experience with a nasty cop (of a different race than my own) when my fence was damaged by a drunk driver. The way the police officer spoke to me, I expected him to arrest me for having dared been a homeowner. He was so nasty, that I reported his behavior to his supervisor.

    My point, I guess is that we are a sum of our past experiences.

    July 23, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  15. Larry from Apex, NC

    James Crowley is a cop: a pig. Big man trying to show his stuff. Dealt with one of these porkers lately? They do it for the thrill, not to protect the public.
    The RePIGlicans are the same way: big bullies full of bluster because they are impotent as individuals.

    July 23, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. Lucy

    If you felt threatened, Mr Policeman, why didn't you call for back up before you arrested someone who identified themselves as a resident in their own home? You called him outside because you didn't have a warrant, and, you are afraid of minorities, after all, they may now be more likely to become president, serve on the Supreme Court and who knows. YOU ACTED STUPIDLY!!!

    July 23, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. Ty

    Obama was right again and white folk who are against him and who are for him still have a hard time addressing ANY issues asociated with racism, bigotry, or unjust treatment by the law...Get over your selves whitel people...He only said the guy ACTED stupidly...which he did...any sensible person with only half the facts can see that...if you're non-white of course

    July 23, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. daisyinatlanta

    i think both side overreacted. after listening to Crowley, i understand why he acted this defensive way. As he said he has three children and a wife who rely on them, he has to be extra-cautious. At the same time, Gates should have been more calm and show his ID with his address on it. that way both side can cool down. Crowley should not have handcuffed Gates before making things clear. Handcuff people may be a daily routine. however it is a insult to many ordinary citizen. i don't think Crowley is a racist based on his previous record. Since Gates is the personal friend of Obama, Obama weighed into this matter which really should not have. I think three of them should appology to each other IN PRIVATE and set good examples to the nation. With patience and understanding, the dark cloud of racism can disappear over our heads. Yes, IT CAN BE DONE. GOP just stay out of it instead of blowing it out of proportion to score some brownie points.

    July 23, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  19. Gracie, MD

    You have to just shake your head. Republicans just continue to DIG A DEEPER HOLE for themselves.

    Sgt. Crowley should have showed better judgement in the Gates situation. This COP should have just defused the situation but simply apologizing for the misunderstanding.

    This same Cop is suppose to be a Racial Profiling Expert huh? Well, that makes sense because those who CLAIM TO BE EXPERTS are the ones who normally BREAK or ABUSE the rules they are suppose to be TEACHING/PREACHING!!!

    Just like Doctors make the WORSE patients. They are considered EXPERTS to, but SO WHAT? Bad judgement happens to so-called "experts" too.

    July 23, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. obama a liar

    again the black community try to make every white person in american look like there bad people

    July 23, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    I am an African American female and I have been in the position where my home alarm went off and the police showed up. I immediately informed the police that this was my home. I did not show proof of residency or proof of employment as Mr. Gates did. The police did not ask for my California id. No questions asked. It sounds like SGT James Crowly was out of line. He should have left Mr Gates alone when he showed proof of residency and proof of employment. That should have been it. SGT James Crowley was fully informed that Mr. Gates was in his home. That means SGT. Crowley should have apologize and left Mr. Gates alone. So yes, SGT Crowley acted stupidly arresting Mr. Gates after it was completely clear that he was in home.

    July 23, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  22. Marie - Reno, NV

    If I was hand cuffed and then arrested after showing a police officer I lived in my own home and was not a thief... I would hope that officer would be reprimanded by the police department.

    I am proud that the President of the United States of AMERICA commented on a current topic of police abuse. This is not Iran, or China... our government is supposed to protect us from arrogant ego maniacs wielding guns ESPECIALLY those who carry a badge.

    July 23, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  23. S Callahan

    S Callahan July 23rd, 2009 2:39 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I think it's best to leave this issue locally…..truthfully..I can understand the homeowner being upset to be questioned in his own home…but when you put it in the perspective that the officer in question was trying to find out if indeed he was the owner or an imposter claiming to be the owner in response to a call to the police of breaking and entry…you just can't really find fault with the officer. In addition, as a citizen the homeowner would have best served to keep a calm disposition and not be on the auto defense…so essentially they both serve blame for the esculation of the incident. Trust me, I am well aware of the boundaries 'some' officers step over in the name of enforcement….but this just doesn't jive that way for me. Am I alone on this thought?

    July 23, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. beevee

    The guy who breaks into a house will not open and identify himself to a cop. He will run from the officer by the back door of the house. I am not sure what the officer is telling.

    July 23, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. Bea from Texas

    @ BJC..the President did noto call anyone stupid...listen to his comments again...

    July 23, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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