[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/28/art.cro.oba.gat.jpg caption=" Join the conversation on Jack's blog."]
After the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates spiraled into a national debate about race, President Obama is hoping to take things down a notch with a casual meeting at the White House.
The president is scheduled to meet Thursday evening with Professor Gates and the arresting officer — Sgt. James Crowley. The White House says the meeting — which is set to happen at a picnic table outside the Oval Office — is about "having a beer and de-escalation."
It's clearly to the president's advantage if he can take the heat away from this story, get it out of the news, and let the focus return to his priority of health care reform.
Mr. Obama has said he hopes the incident in Cambridge can end up being a "teachable moment" for the country. The president acknowledged that he contributed to the whole incident by saying the police "acted stupidly" without knowing all the facts in the case.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion, click here