July 30th, 2009
12:56 PM ET
5 years ago

Will 'beer summit' quench thirst for harmony or go flat?

WASHINGTON (CNN) – White House spokesman Robert Gibbs is trying to downplay expectations for Thursday night's "Beer Summit", saying President Obama "is not going to announce anything" in terms of new initiatives to address racial profiling and will not address reporters when they are briefly let in to take pictures of the confab.

"You won't hear from the president," Gibbs told reporters. "You won't hear from the glass of beer."

Gibbs said Obama simply hopes "this will help foster a dialogue" by bringing together the president's friend, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and the man who arrested him, Sgt. Jim Crowley of the Cambridge, Massachusetts police department, over a few beers.

Gibbs added that the president will not engage Gates and Crowley in questions about what happened on the night of the incident. "This is not an after-action report," he said.

Instead, the summit is planned to be held in a more casual setting, with White House aides revealing that Crowley and Gates will be bringing their family members for the meeting at the picnic table on the South Lawn of the White House.


Filed under: Henry Louis Gates • President Obama
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Kevin Denver Colorado

    When will somebody pick up on my idea for the name of this summit?
    "Glass"nost

    July 30, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. Carole

    This beer fest is just like the stimulus – FLAT. Going no where. We are in a mess and the stimulus did NOTHING but get us deeper in DEBT. Trying to charm the bad taste of gates remarks regarding the Officer's correct action is also going FLAT. obama should stick to the business of Government. That's what he was hired by the TAX PAYERS to do.
    Get on with the job you were hired to do prez.

    July 30, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. Randolph Carter

    I am a concerned American citizen and I wish to ask a question of utmost importance in these trying times. Will they serve beer nuts or little pretzels with the beer? Have a nice day!

    July 30, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. Ted

    OK, who is calling this simple meeting of three guys over a beer a SUMMIT? Summits are for world leaders and since there will be only one world leader there, it isn't a summit. It is a let's sit down/have a beer/talk over the issue/go home/continue life kind of thing.

    July 30, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. Sandy in Boston

    They might team up on Crowley and rough him up a little bit. If I was him I would have some sort of weapon on me, whatever I could get past the Secret Service and defend myself with.

    July 30, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. ed

    May God have mercy on each one of us ! !

    July 30, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  7. sms29s

    He's so right. Sam Adams it should be!

    July 30, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. Fla.

    It is admirable for these men meeting together to address an issue in a constructive manner.

    "If life throws you a lemon, make lemonade" to rise above a challenge.

    July 30, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. Shawn - GA

    If he didn't run his mouth without facts then this would not be needed.

    Our President has shown a few times already when he is off script and not reading what people give him to say... he is not very nice.

    July 30, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. Jon in Texas

    This whole "Beer Summit" is ridiculous. I find it disgusting that Obama invite the cop to the White House for a beer. I know he's just trying to act normal, but give me a freakin' break. All he's doing is patronizing the cop and stereotyping all law enforcement, firefighters, etc. You can't tell me that the attendance of the Harvard professor sparked the idea that Obama settle this over a couple of beers. Obama should be ashamed.

    July 30, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    "this will help foster a dialogue" but president "will not engage Gates and Crowley in questions about what happened on the night of the incident."

    Isn't this the typical Umbama approach? I am very interested in an issue but don't want to know any details or give any opinion.

    Wasn't he supposed to be some kind of leader?

    July 30, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I think it will be a productive dialougue among all three men. The family members coming along is a good idea as well. Besides for the beer, what's on the menu?

    July 30, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Can we have as part of the dialogue, clarification as to why the charges were DROPPED?

    Both men overreacted. It's just that one of them had a gun, and could place the other under arrest.

    July 30, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Chris

    Why is the media making such a big deal out of this?
    The fact of the matter is RACE will always play a part in this country because some Americans think they are an entitled RACE. So until some aliens come and put us all in check by letting us know that we are not alone, we need to learn to deal with each other!!!

    July 30, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. Parkett Lovelace

    Oh yes, Gibbs, Obama will give himself credit for world peace, including that inside the white house beer garden.

    July 30, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    The President will be in an awkward situation after this is over in my opinion. He has the responsibility to be about the business of the people, all the people. I do not see how having a cold beer in the White House with two individuals will cure the nations racial issues. This is getting too much attention at a time when the focus should be on unemployment, health care, and acrryring forward the initiatives of the American people. You want to end racial issues, start with the children and teach them about diversity in the schools. I do not believe that the President has the luxury to try and change social situations.

    July 30, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. Kim P

    This guy is really starting to get under my skin..He lectures us, and treats us like idiots. Everything will be OK if we just have a beer summit. What a jerk-

    July 30, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. s.d.weiss

    Sounds pretty class of Obama, I hope the 3 men involved have fun.

    July 30, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. Chut Pata

    The fact that electing a black president could not convince a white neighbour and a white policeman that a black person could be a Harvard professor with 50 honorary degrees, goes on to prove that beer will not cool down racial tensions in this country.

    July 30, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. Darko

    If it's anything short of an apology to Crowley by Obama and Gates, it's a shame...

    Now that all evidence is out, we can see that there was absolutely no evidence of racial profiling. Gates has shamed himself and his career by showing himself as the racists. Obama embarrased himself by judging Crowley's action with absolutely no evidence and turned it into a national story that has only helped stir up racial tension.

    But it got the media to ease up on the Obamacare tragedy....

    July 30, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. twitwits are the new nitwits

    Its a good start.Custer should have tried it before the little bighorn,he and his men might have lived to see old age.

    July 30, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  22. Trade Freedom for Security, Lose Both

    "You won't hear from the president," Gibbs told reporters. I wish that could happen everyday.

    July 30, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. shucks

    The republican party will do everything in their power to damage any act that this president does. They will condemn anything he does. They will spew their angry, racist rhetoric at every chance they get. They will continue to drive a wedge to divide the country at every chance they get. They will continue to instigate the hate groups of this country. They will continue to try to force religion down everyones throats. They will continue to vote "NO" on every issue that this president brings up. They will continue to be the party of losers due to all the previous mentions.

    July 30, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. Zero.

    The reflection of an operation, through a Looking-Glass..

    July 30, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. Marcus, Great Lakes IL

    Since the President was asked that stupid question which had nothing to do with Health Care and everything to do with race baiting, and since he answered off the cuff, he has a responsibility to try to bridge the two sides. My question was, would he do it or would he go by the wayside as Presidents in the past. He chose to try to bridge the sides.

    Good for you, Mr. President! I know there are those who want you to fail but I for one don't and as much as I didn't like the former President Bush, I didn't want him to fail either since, when they fail so do we as a country.

    July 30, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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