July 23rd, 2009
02:06 PM ET
9 years ago

White House says Obama does not regret Gates comments

Gates was arrested last week at his home in Massachusetts on a charge of disorderly conduct.

Gates was arrested last week at his home in Massachusetts on a charge of disorderly conduct.

(CNN) - White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that President Obama does not regret saying Cambridge, Massachusetts police "acted stupidly" in arresting Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Watch: Obama weighs in on Gates arrest

Asked aboard Air Force One whether the president regrets the choice of words, Gibbs told reporters that Obama, who made the remarks at Wednesday night's White House press conference, "was not calling the [arresting] officer stupid. The situation got out of hand."

Related: GOP questions Obama's police criticism

Related: NRCC takes on Obama's cop comment

Gates was arrested last Thursday at his Cambridge home for disorderly conduct - what the arresting officer described as "loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space." The charge was dropped Tuesday on the recommendation of police, and the city of Cambridge issued a statement calling the incident "regrettable and unfortunate."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I don't htink anything wwas wrong with the comment. The president just pointed out what most blacks and hispanics deal with on a daily basis. It will behoove republicans not to make this an issue when they clearly are out of touch with the african-american and latin american communities.

    July 23, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. carlo

    And he shouldn't regret it. Just because white people voted for him doesn't mean that he should hold his tongue when there is injustice.

    July 23, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Brina

    He shouldn't regret it either.

    July 23, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. Jeremiah

    Gates is a racist, Rev. Wright is a racist. Both are close friends of the Campaigner-in-Chief. Still don't think there's anything to be concerned about?

    July 23, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. LacrosseMom

    Of course NOT! What IS smart about arresting a homeowner who shows their I.D. with proof that he lives in the home and IS arrested any way???

    Whether you are black, white, brown, yellow or ...... orange....... being arrested after showing PROOF you belong in the house is IDIOTIC!

    Seems to me that the police were upset that the homeowner was upset with them! EGO gets in the way.

    July 23, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. maria

    Truth hurts don't it cops! This occurs nationwide and they get off.

    July 23, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Zero.

    So Shame? Is the name of the Game. Well Barack Obama must be ashamed of his Name "Hussein"...

    July 23, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. Trade Freedom for Security, Lose Both

    As President, I would think Obama would be better than that. Well, its not the first time he's disappointed me. Probably won't be the last either.

    July 23, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  9. phoenix86

    I wonder if he regrets all the lies he told last night as well.

    Also, I find it interesting the scripted press conferences. The press has become props for our clown in the White House.

    July 23, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  10. Keith

    The person who interjected race was Gates by stating "Why, because I'm an African-American?" when the officer asked for ID. The officer was following his fiduciary duty to investigate a possible break-in after Gates' neighbor saw multiple men using a crow bar to enter Gates house. Gates then played the liberal elite card by stating "Do you know who you are messing with?" and made comments about the officer's mother. This all took place outside with the officer making numerous attempts to diffuse the tension. However, Gates actions eventually forced the officer to take action. Now, Gates (who makes his living based on racial issues) gets a career boost by his victimization. The President should of stayed out of this and should of at least read the officer's police report first. Instead he acted like a community activist and not a president in contributing to the stereotype that cops are racists. Way to bring that new post racial tone to Washington!

    July 23, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. Carol

    Of course Gibbs and Obama are too arrogant to admit that there was another poor choice of words. Let us all follow the pied piper and not question his words or actions. Like lemmings over the cliff we go...

    July 23, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. nom deplume, esq.

    Funny, I was commenting yesterday on how Gibbs was a person so smug and self-righteous that you had a visceral urge to beat the living crap out of him on principle, and I was amazed to find that others felt the same way. This guy is so tone-deaf to the liberal snark in his comments that he may prove to be the best Press Secretary the GOP ever had. At least he is keeping them in the game.

    And as for Gates, his story is so full of BS, I can smell it from here. He claims he wasn't yelling but pictures don't lie. I have dealt with his sort enough to know that he almost certainly copped afri-tude with the sgt. and made a scene. Further, he claims he showed i.d., but we have only his version for that. Finally, he claims he asked the cop for his name and badge number: Both were conveniently displayed on the cop's chest, yet he demanded them anyway? This is a power ploy that cops get all the time.

    This former Cantabridgian says that it was Gates that "acted stupidly."

    July 23, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Fitz

    And he should not walk it back. They want to ask him the question, then this is your answer. We all know this is the reality that some folks live with, it happens daily so let's stop acting as if this is somehow new info. You fit the description remember that. I am glad someone of his stature will mention it because it needs to be mentioned

    July 23, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Curtis Mitchell

    Right on Mr. President!

    July 23, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. Neutralizer

    When did Obambi regret anything? He did NOT regret lying to the American from last year to the present. The man LIE to the American people 24/7. His LIES created $2 TRILLION NEW DEFICIT less than 120 days in office! Obambi is a pathological liar.

    July 23, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. Pepou

    President Obama did the right thing. There is something called racial profiling in this coutry which has to stop. I am proud of his courageous remarks.

    July 23, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  17. Fact

    Why should he ? It is a fact they always do that . We cops get a good inside joke when we do stuff like that !

    July 23, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  18. demwit

    Of course not..., everyone should be able to yell at "stupidly acting" police officers outside their own house!!

    July 23, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. Melissa

    Why should he regret them exactly? No reason, other than overly sensitive children.

    July 23, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |

    Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates is back in hot water with law enforcement again today as Cambridge police arrested him for allegedly stealing a quart of milk from his own refrigerator.

    "He was acting suspiciously in his kitchen, removing items from the cupboard such as a glass," said Cambridge police spokesman Ryan Slatson. "When he made a move for the refrigerator, we pounced."

    July 23, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. GI Joe

    Ignore the GOP whining. They are just practicing.

    Voting even more of them out next year. It will quiet down then.

    July 23, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. Tay in Texas

    Nor should he regret them. As one article pointed out, in America it is not illegal to yell at a police officer. Arresting someone in their own home when they have given you identification and proof of residency is exactly what President Obama indicated it was: stupid.

    July 23, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  23. tom

    wow barack, do you ever stand up for your stupid comments or can I expect 3 more years of you trying to backpeddle your way out? You state the Mass. cops acted stupidly, then try to say it was really the situation that got out of hand? wow, I know you'd be a poor president, but you are even surprising me with how bad you really are.

    July 23, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. David from WI

    “I Like To Know What I'm Talking About Before I Speak"
    What does CNN's Ed Henry have to say?

    I guess when its a friend of yours ....... not so much huh?

    The police unions and officers across the country must just love this.

    Can I post a link to the police report or is that not allowed?

    How dare those officers question a man of such standing? They forget their station and place. Peasant rabble.

    July 23, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. RI Moderate

    Professor Gates acted stupidly and could have easily defused this situation by merely cooperating with a police officer sent to protect HIS property!

    The man is a victim of his own ego!

    July 23, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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