August 1st, 2009
03:20 PM ET
5 years ago

GOP leader bashes Obama's happy hour

RNC Co-Chairman Jan Larimer sharply criticized President Obama on Friday for his 'beer summit' meeting Thursday evening.
RNC Co-Chairman Jan Larimer sharply criticized President Obama on Friday for his 'beer summit' meeting Thursday evening.

SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) – Republican National Committee Co-Chairman Jan Larimer criticized President Obama Friday for his White House meeting with a professor and a police officer, saying the president needs to focus on more important issues.

"We are at war and Barack Obama is talking about beer in the White House," Larimer said at the RNC's Summer Meeting. "And it is wrong. It is not what our country is about."

Larimer was referring to Obama's "happy hour" at the White House a day earlier with Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge police officer James Crowley. Crowley arrested Gates at his home after responding to a call that someone was breaking into a house. The arrest sparked a national discussion on the issue of racial profiling, which was amplified when Obama weighed in on the matter.

Leading up to the meeting, there was much discussion in the media about what type of beer would be served.

Larimer, who represents Wyoming, offered the sharp critique of the president as she recounted to her fellow RNC members her feelings about watching the USS Nimitz deploy earlier that day.


Filed under: President Obama • RNC
soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. Wayne Kerr

    There are times when even the President of the United States needs to learn to keep his mouth shut. Although I am a Canadian, I feel he was wrong in calling the police action stupid.

    July 31, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. wayne

    The president can't sit down and have a beer, repulicans are looking for anything to bash this president about.

    July 31, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  3. Julie

    I think it was a wonderful gesture and a terrific story. It was a grand and bold move toward some sort of solution & dialogue about the most heated of issues our country faces. Obama is an incredible individual who tries to bring opposite sides together, and he does it in the most intelligent, thoughtful way (just like the man himself). His ideas are fresh while being diplomatic. I do have the utmost respect for police and all law enforcement, but I would have like to have seen Crowley appear a little more relaxed and not so guarded and defensive during the summit.

    July 31, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  4. RTB

    Some one needs to remind Ms. Larimar that the media made it into a big deal.
    What is our country about then? The republicans had the white house for the past 8 years showing the world what this country is about according to a feeble minded cowboy.

    July 31, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  5. csmith

    huh. weird, that when we we were neck deep in war, Bush was drinking near beer at Crawford and republicans had nothing to say about it.

    July 31, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  6. Jan Illinois

    Larimar, better realize that our president has made a huge mistake with this deal, he needs to try to make it better. He should have and may have apologize, if so Americans need to know it. I believe that this has hurt , a much deeper wound than we first thought.

    July 31, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  7. Ron

    This is where Obama's detractors always underestimate him. He does nothing to try and impress old people, he always has his eye on the youth and ways to instill the right values in them going forward.

    He set a great example with this gesture.

    Sorry, stuffy old people, you're right. He ISN'T your President, he's ours.

    July 31, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  8. Greg

    Great to see another GOPer thinking that race relations are trivial. The party continues to show their true racism.

    July 31, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  9. Corey

    This is ridiculous. You know how you change race relations in this country? One person, one beer, one conversation at a time. If Obama is President, what better way then to lead by example? Don't forget, there is more than one battle-one war raging in this country.

    July 31, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. just truth

    no matter what any one say's the great one will do what he wants just like bush and cheney were accussed of. but then the messiah is always doing the right things like destroying the u.s..

    July 31, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. michaelam

    Hey, Jan.....seriously I could care less if you earned a title.....
    Jan, in President Obama's words: ""This is three folks having a drink at the end of the day, and hopefully giving people an opportunity to listen to each other. And that's really all it is.

    Get over it. He's an adult, of legal age, and is trying to bridge a few gaps....you know, get people to peacefully sit down and try to listen to one another.......the grown up thing to do.

    I realize you are not used to such a peaceful and mature concept. Your party favors bombs over words, but try to keep an open mind. Things are changing, and for the better, thank you!

    July 31, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. MArie

    Is the transportation and beer etc.. paid for buy the taxpayer???

    July 31, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. Tom

    This lady reaffirms why I am no longer a Republican. What an idiot.

    July 31, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  14. Chenna Benna

    Geez...the President can't even go to the bathroom without the GOP making a negative comment. How pathetic.

    July 31, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  15. Squealy

    Geez, it was A beer, not a "happy hour". And, judging by the recent (and continuing) racist comments from the conservative right, we need all the race relations help we can get in this country. Yeah, we are at war. Is this fact keeping conservatives from having a drink every now and then? I didn't think so.

    July 31, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  16. dfisher9999

    First of all I am a republican – second – I think he handled it great.

    Real level where real people live, not some "formal announcement" He got them together and the air is cleared.

    We need a president who is down to earth and real and Obama is showing that he is that type of leader. Same reason he wore jeans to the ball game and not his suit pants.

    My comment to the republican leadership – YOU DON'T GET IT. This is exactly what we need, not a high and mighty out of touch president. Yes we have important things to work on, but if he spent all his time on the big things, you would complain he is not in touch with the people. Stop be partisan – stop looking to create a phantom opening to complain – let him do his job and keep things moving along.

    July 31, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  17. Danny J

    The move was strictly PR and a self-serving political move: nothing more. Anyone denying that is either lying or delusional.

    July 31, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  18. adods

    This wingnut sounds like he went to happy hour and stayed for last call. Can the GOP think we are so gullible as to believe they have all given up drinking because we are at war? Let he who is without a two martini lunch cast the first olive.

    July 31, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  19. james #!

    Hey, around my heighborhood that's the way we've always handled things. Not the secrets, lies, dirty-dealing and back-stabbing of the
    self-"Righteous" Right. More lame attempts to take the heat off of the true culpability of Larimer and her comrades. In fact, more dialogue and openness is exactly what is needed. But that isn't written into the capitalist manifesto of the fascists, is it? Accept change or cease to exist.

    July 31, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  20. Joshua

    It just goes to show, some people will have a problem with everything. Obama's only pushed through arguably the most tremendous agenda ever in his first 6 months in office. Clearly he's a slacker. He absolutely should not spend an hour diffusing a media firestorm over racial profiling. And if it's one thing an overescalated sensitivity spasm needs, it's a high pressure solution. We wouldn't want to try to calm things down.

    Oh, and just in case any of you are as ignorant as Jan "drivel-box Larimer" obviously is, I'M BEING SARCASTIC.

    July 31, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  21. Jay

    Of course "it is wrong" to the GOP. Ever since the civil rights movement, they've been abhorrent to any sort of improvement of race relations.

    July 31, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  22. Not Making Up My Stuff to Suit My Agenda

    The GOP needs to grow up.

    July 31, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  23. Marie

    This is wrong. This gentalman is being rewarded for bad behavior.
    (Gates) I bet if it was someone really breaking in his home it would have been different???
    Gee I wonder -– whos paying for this "so-called" summit?

    July 31, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  24. Ras Disputin

    Someone should remind the good co-chairman that the Republicans are the reason that we are "at war" in the first place.. someone is smokin
    dogfood.

    July 31, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  25. rush

    hypocrite hypocrite hypocrite Larimer shouldnt be watchign the USS Nimitz deploy she should have been working.

    July 31, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
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