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. Al, Lawrence KS

    Mr. Gates was arrested in his own home because he spouted off to a police officer. I have no idea what was said, or how it was said, but it was the police officers call. His solution–to arrest Gates–was stupid. I can't really see how that can be disputed. It doesn't matter what transpired. The result was stupid and accomplished nothing.

    July 23, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. MAC

    I feel that it was in poor judgment that the Chief of Law enforcement condemned the officer before he had all the facts in. Let internal affairs investigate the allegations made by Mr. Gates and present their findings before you get on nationally news and condemn somebody. The Officers career has been jeopardized.

    July 23, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Nini

    Stop interfering with law enforcement matters Mr. President.

    When do you every get anything done,? You are either on TV or pocking your nose where it doesn’t belong.

    You are taking over the car companies, you are taxing our choices (bear and cigarette), healthcare and not you are telling the cops what to do?

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

    This is SO important. We should argue about this endlessly!

    We shouldn't talk about fixing our broken health care system. No...

    We shouldn't talk about the Dow breaking 9,000 for the first time since President Coo coo Bananas. No...

    We shouldn't talk about our improved standing in the world. No...

    We should instead talk about what a bunch of proven race baitors (Rush, Beck, O'Reilly, Coulter, NRSC, etc) think about a circumstance that was witnessed by 2 people! Yeah that's it!

    C'mon people. How is this going to solve our problems?

    July 23, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. coolchange

    Boy, I tell you. That's why America is in the shape it's in right now.

    This subject is just another way of distracting the American people just like the republicans always do.

    We're gonna get everything we deserve once the American people let the republicans take over again.

    July 23, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. Bud

    I don't know the full story here, but I can tell you that (1) I'm a white man, but (2) if a policeman ordered me to do anything, I would be in big trouble if I didn't comply.

    I don't always like the police, they're often too hot headed and wear a chip on their shoulder or get authority complex because they have a gun and are in uniform, sort of the Nazi syndrome,

    but I'm growing tired of the Blacks jumping up yelling "DISCRIMINATION" . Oh please. We are all discriminated against in this way or that, at one time or another.

    July 23, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. CambridgeBeav

    African too – even if there was no racial element to this situation, the CPD acted stupidly. The officer arrested a homeowner who was rightfully in his own home, even after his identity was established, presumably because the officer didn't like his attitude. Expressing your opinion to a police officer, politely or otherwise, is not against the law.

    I've lived in Cambridge for more than ten years, and know a lot of "loud and tumultous" folks (the actual charge, for those who don't know, was "loud and tumultous behavior in a public space") who have exhibited far worse behavior in *much* more public areas, and I don't know a single one who has ever been charged with this (or anything – they usually just earn an eyeroll from the police). The officer lost his cool and made a bad decision. Whether race had anything to do with it is another question, but regardless I think it's safe to say the officer acted "stupidly".

    July 23, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Scott L

    GATES needs to read about Reggie Lewis and Crowley trying to perform CPR. He was an EMT doing his job regardless of race. Just as he is now a police officer doing his job.

    How many times have officers shown up to a crime being committed and the criminals try to lie their way out of it. Officers show up into situations and have no idea what the real story is. To have someone yelling and screaming and failing to initially provide ID (as is stated in the police report by the OTHER OFFICER) warrants an arrest.

    Gates should be blaming the neighbor for calling the cops in the first place. But he probably never had her over for tea to begin with so how would she know who he was?

    I support this police officer 1000%. Nobody is questioning Gate's version of events.

    July 23, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Joe

    Don't know where you live Ben but most people in this country do not hold the same opinion as the President. Just check the polls. Stop blaming other parties when your party makes a mistake. Time to start taking some responsiblity for your own actions. Oh, sorry, thats exactly the opposite of Democrat philosophy.

    July 23, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Stop Wasted Money

    Why are so much money being spent on ads. We can use that money to pay for help care.

    July 23, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Curious

    Just because a police officer is summoned to a scene does not necessarily mean that a crime has been committed or someone has to leave the scene in handcuffs. Once the police officer ascertained that the individual lived at the residence and was not committing a crime, he should have left. No reason to arrest him, no matter how rude and obnoxious the man may have been. Being rude and obnoxious is not a crime.

    As far as people not understand "what the big deal is" about presenting identification, back in the pre-Civil War era, ALL blacks had to have a pass to travel anywhere as did blacks in South Africa during the apartheid. This isn't pre-Civil War America nor is it South Africa under apartheid. There's history here.

    The police officer mishandled this. No clue how many other similar incidents he's handled the same way.

    It may not be about race, but it is definitely not how the police should treat their "customers," the citizens who live in their area.

    July 23, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. Florida Boy

    Stupid is as stupid does. That cop did "act stupidly" and deserves to be reprimanded. Way to go, Mr. President, for calling it as it is. Oh, and by the way, I'm WHITE!

    July 23, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. mark

    Obamanation lacks enough self respect to see that the professor was acting like a dork to the police who were trying to do there job. If there was a white person standing on the door step they too would have been treated EXACTLY the same way, espectially if they were acting dumb like that guy was. A large reason there is still a race issue in this country is because people like Obama continue to call out issues that don't exist. Obama is no better a person than the professor who acted so poorly to police trying to answer a break-in call. The professor got exactly what he deserved.

    July 23, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. Hans Bulteryst

    So sad that GOP needs to use this comment to get in the news.
    No doubt it was "stupdily". The victim was already identified!!

    It is just another clear case of racial profiling. PERIOD.

    It has been for decades an enormous problem and still IS.
    I have witnessed with friends and family how black boys are treated differently.
    Very concerning as a white father with 2 adopted black boys!

    When will the GOP learn to call oranges, oranges and apples, apples?

    July 23, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Dale in Ohio

    The president is showing who is racist by making that stupid comment. The president is the one that should apologize to the officer
    The man was performing his duties and showed restraint, it would have been stupid if the officer shot him. Obama was WAY OUT OF LINE

    July 23, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    I am glad Obama called the Cambridge cop's behavior "stupid."

    It is finally time to say it like it is.......I am a white female senior citizen, and no one has ever spoken up for me in circumstances like this....I have been abused by cops. If they come to my house for information about something going on in the neighbohood, I refuse to talk with them.

    Just stay in your house when they come around, but don't invite them in. Don't yell, be polite, and say as little as possible.

    July 23, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. martha

    I am a big-time Obama supporter, but confess that I cringed when he referred to the police behavior as stupid and I was thinking, "Oh, why did he say that?" Clearly not his finest moment and took a lot of the post press conference attention away from health care. My guess is that he is wishing for a do-over.

    July 23, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. Peter

    America has come from far when it comes to the race issues however, there is still groups of people who thinks " Hey I am white I'm better than you and you can't tell me nothing you blacks!" and others who thinks " Hey I'm black entitled and you cant tell me nothing you white people". Both groups suffers from inferiority complex a disease worse than cancer! it doesn't matter how many degrees or doctorates you have! if you can't love and like yourself the way you are, you will always act and behave as the victim. The Police and the Professor should grow up! and especially if the professor is 60years or approximately! that group of African Americans everything is racially based They can learn a thing or 2 from the young americans.

    July 23, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. phoenix86

    Ben in Texas,

    A typical liberal reponse from you. Just save typing time and key in "blame Bush". That's what you do for all your leaders failings.

    July 23, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. Jim in San Jose 2

    I think President Obama's comment was ill advised. No doubt about it. And I think comparing it to GW getting us into 2 wars is ill-advised. Maybe you should compare what GW said right after learning about 9/11 "Are you kidding?"

    We excoriate President Obama because we expect more from him. He is an intelligent and well educated man. He allowed his emotions to get the better of him, and that's bad. Not apologizing for it is worse. The officer's career is now damaged because of a careless comment.

    I am a Democrat, and I voted for Obama. But I think this was a mistake.

    July 23, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. Mike in LR

    I have to laugh at the jabs over the war in Iraq. And especially a comment about it not being winnable. Ooops, it WAS won.

    C'mon libs, get over the hate over the war. It's over now and we have succeeded in ridding the world of a mass muderer and the Iraqi people now inspire the Iranians to push for democracy too.

    As for BO's remark. It was a racist remark itself. I have no doubt BO has racist thoughts too.

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

    It was bad enough that he called the Police stupid , but then to interject race was disgusting.
    Obama 's lack of leadership and inexperience is going to ruin this once so proud and beautiful country.

    July 23, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. Tired Old Man

    ben from texas . you are an idiot ..
    focus on the issue and comment on it .. rather than spewing ..
    The fact is .. all this adulation and hero worship has gone to your almighty's head !!
    He needs to learn that when you are President .. your words carry weight .. you need to be exceedingly careful of what you say and how you say it
    He starts off by saying that he doesnt have all the facts ... then .. rather than keeping quiet at that .. he continues and puts his foot in his mouth ..
    I believe he owes the police officer an un-conditional apology

    Just because a cop arrests a black man .. does NOT make that cop a racist ..

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

    I must say this is STUPID!!!!! NRCC has no other issues to debate!!!! Can we talk about HEALTHCARE???????

    July 23, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. There are no words

    MA will NEVER turn red...so whatever with the ads......having said that I cringed when I heard the POTUS utter those words. He was having a serious Bush moment.

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