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. Brad

    oh please.... grow up a little.

    July 23, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. Maximus

    That's all the republicans do best, criticize, find fault, and blow things out of proportion and give them meaning they don't have. The hell with them. They act as if this is an election campaign. Ever since Obama got to the presidency, all they do is criticize and oppose his plans instead of joining the effort of making life better in America. Those old dogs need to retire from public service. They are an obstacle to a better existence.

    July 23, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  3. Marty, Grand Rapids Mi

    He shouldn't have gotten involved with local politics. Especially because he knew the guy. Oops. My guess is he will learn from his mistake.

    July 23, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  4. JonDie

    How surprising! The NRCC (aka the NationalRacist Committee of Communists) believe the police should be able to violate the constitutional rights of US citizens, especially black US citizens, with immunity. The police officer should be fired.

    July 23, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  5. Johnny the Boy

    Barry Obama is always yapping before he knows the facts.

    July 23, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  6. Mariann Pepitone

    It doesn't matter that Obama does not regret Gates comments, the public now knows that Obama did a good job at hiding his racial tones. Kerry will agree with Obama even though he lives in Mass. Obama should remember the majority of whites voted him in. I did not vote for him because I culd read thru him and I have no regrets. He isn't doing the job he set out to do. And why doesn't he concern himself with the captive soldier. He should be contacting them to see what they want. He spent time hob knobbing around Europe instead of taking care of business. And is he ignoring Hillary Clinton? I like her style better than his. And I think wold leaders like her.

    July 23, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    Finally, an issue the Republicans can sink their teeth into that really matters to average Americans. This could be the start of their come-back!

    July 23, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  8. joseph m

    Maybe Crowley's not racist but he certainly is disrespectful. Are not police supposed to follow a command system? He can think whatever he wants but he should not be openly questioning the President and Commander and Chief's judgment. Gates is being accused of "taking it to the media" and Crowley's following in his footsteps. Who is the out of line now?

    July 23, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. Ryan Indy

    Obama knows nothing of what happened or that his BUDDY was yelling curse words at the cops and saying things about the cops mother. If he would have chilled out , I am sure he wouldnt have been arrested but it sounds as though he wanted to cause a scene and he got what he asked for. The police were just doing their jobs how STUPID is that Obama?

    July 23, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  10. eliza

    First he said plainly that he was biased – right out front – before he said anything else. Then he said the dude that got arrested was a friend of his. Only then did he say the arrest was stupid. He let everyone know that his statements were personal and then said what he thought. I see no wrong doing here.

    July 23, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    i think obama said what needed to be said if you the police must take all infomation to do what must be done and listen to the homeowner

    July 23, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  12. Frank

    Dear RNC,

    The officer stated in his report that he arrested Prof Gates after it was determined that he was actually the resident of his home. It is not a crime to get loud with a cop. So in essence what the President said is correct, the Cambridge police acted stupidly.

    July 23, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. Kodi

    Obama said the arrest was stupid, not the prior investigation of a reported attempted break-in. At the time of the arrest, the officer knew that it was Gates' house.
    Even if the police officer's report is accepted as 100% accurate, Gates was arrested for yelling at the police while standing on his own property. People make noise in front yards all the time and it is rarely disorderly conduct.
    Some authoritarian states have desacato or insult laws, which criminailze insulting public officials during the course of their duties. Such laws have no place in a society that protects freedom of expression. As Justice Powell wrote in Lewis v. City of New Orleans, "a properly trained officer may reasonably be expected to exercise a higher degree of restraint than the average citizen." The cop's job was done there, no burglary, he should have walked away.

    July 23, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  14. Nick

    Here's a guy whose very life depends on law enforcement officers every day saying that one of them, who from all accounts acted exactly as he should have for the situation, was "stupid"? I wouldn't want to be standing next to Barry anytime soon.

    Engage brain before opening mouth!

    July 23, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. jj

    Relax people. You have been rushing to judgement about Black people forever and continue to do so. Just turn on the evening news each night and look at the number of black people shown on the news for committing crimes. Especially we it is statistically evident that the majority of crimes committed in this country are done so by the majority. You all just need to relax!

    July 23, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    He also said he was a friend of the professor's and admitted his opinion may be biased as a result. I see him as having done nothing wrong and having been very open about where his opinion was coming from and even admitting it may be flawed.

    Point is, he answered the question asked of him. If he hadn't answered the question, we'd have had to listen to the GOP making irrational attempts to get black people angry at him, as if he didn't abhore racism or show sufficient support for the historicallly oppressed. Honestly, the person everyone should be mad at is the imbecile who asked the question in the first place...instead of asking something about the myriad issues that are of far greater importance than what probably amounts to one cop having a bad day (or one day having a bad cop).

    July 23, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. Mark

    Obama should have kept his mouth shut on the arrest of his buddy. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Mr. Gates flew into a "poor black man" rage.

    July 23, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. Leon, OKC

    ARe you serious? they are going to waste time and money spin this into something completely off and pointless? This is a complete waste of resources. What he said was right! Everyone in thier own home would get upset if they got arrested after they proved they were the owners of the house in question. it was STUPID and the NRCC is STUPID for trying to make what he said an issue.

    July 23, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. Dana from NY

    They did act stupidly...whats the problem- the act so stupidly that their charges were dropped and its been admitted it shouldnt have even gone that far! Whats sad is that out of the almost hour long- very information press conference last night this is all the media has to talk about today... the media is steering this ship and rather than keeping their viewers informed on what was discussed in the press conference and all the additional info provided by President Obama- they want to focus on the 2 minutes when he answered a pointed question about Professor Gates... TYPICAL!

    July 23, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  20. Frieda Friendentia

    Excuse me, where is it written that law enforcement officers can never behave stupidly? Are they above the grace of God , all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God... unless you are a policeman?
    It seems the culture of law enforcement is: intimidation works, might is right therefore the police report is being held as the "higher authority" over one of our most honored citizens. The officer would not even give his badge number and name, just the idea of a verbal challenge to the officers authority was enough to get Prof. Gates arrested.
    The officer is the beligerent party here, unwilling to make an apology and hiding behind protocal. It is the nature of the Police to use the laws against us with misrepresentation of the facts and if possible lie and paint the worst possible picture of each person they deal with. They lie everyday to bolster their actions. We All Know IT, Only the cops and the media seem NOT to have the common sense of almost any American who has ever had to deal with "the beast".

    July 23, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  21. Lame Duck

    That is right, a white cop says that it happened and it is all the information that I need to make up my mind... To add to that, an eye witness interviewd by CNN says, "I heard nothing that Gates said but, I believe he acted belligerently"...

    Case closed for me... You can't believe anything those blacks would say anyway... Police NEVER lie...

    July 23, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Flash in the Pan

    Having heard a bit of both sides now, it sure looks like the cop was acting reasonably. Gates appears as a intellectual elitist, with a huge chip on his shoulder.

    If I disobeyed simple instructions from the police (who were acting to protect me and my property), and beligerantly shouted accusations of racial bias, I'd expect to be cuffed as well.

    Shame on the City of Cambridge for not backing this cop, and bigger shame on Obama for speaking – in front of the entire nation – without first having the facts. That certainly wasn't very presidential of him...

    July 23, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. Charles

    Hey guys, cool off, please! This is just two men with lots of ego that reacted natually in an odd situation. The black professor got home from a long trip from China (12 hours difference) and found door jammed and have to enter from back door (so he was tired and mad.) Then a white officer asked him to step outside of his own home that is a correct procedure for the officer when he responds to a home break-in situation. But eventually, I believe both men knew the situations afterward (Gates showed his IDs eventually.)
    I think this got out of control when the professor got arrested and charged with “… public place..”. My trouble is, anybody’s own home is absolutely NOT a public place. So I agreed with Obama, this is quite stupid to get this far.

    July 23, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. nazario a. gonzales

    Without knowing the facts, President Obama responded "stupidly."

    July 23, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  25. Ben in Texas

    President Obama expresses an opinion, the same one held by most people in this country, and the NRCC comes out with guns blazing.

    George W. gets us into 2 un-winnable wars and, years later, the Repugnants still can't admit it was a gigantic mistake.

    Repugnants have their heads wedged somewhere dark and stinky.

    July 23, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
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