July 24th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Should Obama apologize for saying cops acted "stupidly" in Gates arrest?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Cambridge cops want an apology from the President of the United States for saying the police "acted stupidly" in the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.

They didn't get one today – but they got something:

The president made a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room today... saying he spoke with the arresting officer and that he didn't mean to malign the police department. But he stopped short of apologizing.

This was a local story that likely would have gone away in a day or two... until President Obama got involved.

Mr. Obama criticized the arrest of Gates even though he admitted he didn't know all the facts. The first black president also talked about how blacks and Hispanics are still unfairly singled out for arrest.

Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct - when police responded to a possible break-in at his home. They say Gates at first refused to display ID... and then accused the officer of racism.

Turns out the arresting officer Sgt. James Crowley - who stands by his actions - taught a racial profiling course for five-years. The commissioner of the Cambridge police department says Crowley's actions were not racially motivated.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police says it's "critically important" to have all the facts on any police matter before making a public statement. And Republicans say Mr. Obama wasn't acting "presidential" by rushing to judgment.

Here’s my question to you: Should President Obama apologize for saying Cambridge police acted "stupidly" in the Gates arrest?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

P. writes:
It was wrong of Pres. Obama to make comments on the situation for many reasons, but perhaps the most important is that it has inflamed racial tensions rather than bring constructive attention to the real issues at hand… As far as the president is concerned, I am disappointed because he has just proven himself to be a 'black' president rather than everyone's president… To me, says that he is more concerned with race issues than he let on during his campaigns.

Bea writes:
Jack, The real concern in all of this is that the president commented on an issue that he didn't have all the facts on (by his own admission). Will he comment, act or react to other issues without having all the facts? Scary.

H. from Seattle writes:
President Obama was 100% correct and anything short of what he said would've been phony and politically motivated. A man was arrested in his home even after providing identification. That was stupid, period.

Matthew writes:
Absolutely. I've lost a lot of respect for him over the issue. Imagine how devastating it would be to have the president call your actions stupid when you have an incredible track record and were just following procedure. The president should apologize immediately.

Michael from Dallas, Texas writes:
This became a story because of one serious misjudgment, the unnecessary arrest. Now that it is a story, why don’t we treat it as an opportunity? This could be the point when black men and white policeman start to realize what it is that sets off these unpleasant occurrences. I am not siding with either side but the arrest was unnecessary and probably occasioned by Professor Gates' bad attitude as seen by Officer Crowley. Therefore it could be called a stupid act.

soundoff (321 Responses)
  1. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    I don't want to say it was a mistake, because I do want the President to speak his mind. But it would be nice if he would come back and say that he didn't have his facts straight, and at least retract his comment. Personally, I think the officer behaved appropriately.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  2. Jake

    I don't think it was necessary or desirable for President Obama to intervene, but the cop was incredibly stupid for arresting a person for trying to get into HIS OWN HOUSE.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  3. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Yes. This was his neighbor across the street who called the police. He got mouthy with the officer. All you have to do is watch an episode or two of “Cops” to understand that the quickest way to get yourself into a pair of handcuffs is to mouth off to the cop who is asking you questions after a citizen complaint. The police acted responsibly, Obama didn’t.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  4. Dick - Warrenton VA

    I think it was a mistake for the President to weigh in without all of the facts first. He's young, he'll learn. BUT.. the bigger issue is at what point did this become a racial issue? Is it only because the cop was white and the "suspect" was black? Do too many people assume that this type confrontation is racial because of the parties involved are of different races? Or is this yet another media-generated non-story that you hoped would turn into something as big as it did??

    WOW! If we in America believe that every confrontation between a government authority and citizen is racial because the parties are of different races, America is sad, sad shape.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  5. Doug - Dallas, TX

    Absolutely! He did not have all the facts and should have stopped before the word "stupidly". He only looked at it from one side and unfortunately gave a biased opinion.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  6. Paul Austin, Texas

    My guess is that no one really listens to anything. President Obama started out saying he did not have all the facts. What did people not understand about that statement. He also said he knew the man and considered him his friend and his statement would reflect as such. So no he did not make a mistake with his statement. He also has the right like anyone else to state what he thinks frankly about any issue.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  7. Hans from Missouri

    Yes, absolutely wrong! He should not have weighed in without knowing all sides of the story and then he should still not have commented. This has turned into a no win situation for all sides.
    P.S. Sgt. Crowley was doing his job and Prof. Gates was wrong in immediately bringing in race when it was his property that was being defended by the police. Maybe he and his neighbors should find out what they each look like so they won't call 911 when they see each other entering their own homes.

    Hans from Hermann, MO

    July 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  8. Gail, Plano,Texas

    No, President Obama did not make a mistake saying that the Cambridge Police acted stupidly. I think that the policeman was wrong and if Gates was white, this would never have occurred.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  9. John from Los Angeles

    Only Obama-haters are making a big deal about this. The rest of us know that "behaved stupidly" is a KIND way to talk about police who arrested and handcuffed–in his OWN HOME– a 60 year old college professor who can't walk without a cane and had committed NO CRIME of any kind.

    What would YOU call that if it happened to you?

    I think the President was being very kind to the police involved, under these circumstances..

    July 24, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  10. Kelby, In Houston, Texas

    I think I know what the problem is. The incident with Skip Gates is not uncommon. Stories like this have circulated among black people in America for as long as I can remember. No one who has grown up Black in America was surprised that Skip Gates was arrested. We have heard this story before. We, as black people comment on these stories all the time. And I believe this is the reason why Obama did not see a problem in commenting on the incident. But really, isn't this just another distraction from what's really important like the healcare debate, Torture and so on and so forth?

    July 24, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  11. Chuck in warren, Ohio

    Jack: Let me tick some people off. I think the final word is that Prof Gates wanted to make a documentary and this turned out to be his chance.
    I think he went outside and intended to get arrested. Let him stew!!

    July 24, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  12. Mike

    The President should apologize.Period!! Here are the facts. The police get a call about a possible break-in and the "suspect" is black.
    Police arrive and the first person they confront on the property matches the description of the "suspect". Officer asks for ID. "Suspect" refuses to show ID, he says who he is, but doesn't provide ID and becomes verbally abusive.Remember, the officer still has not been able to positvely ID the "suspect". The suspect gets more belligerant and gets arrested.
    The "suspect should be thankful that his neighbor called the cops and should be thankful that the cop refused to accept anything other than positive ID and didn't let the "suspect control the situation.
    Now, suppose the officer just said," oh, this is your house, sorry to bother you. Later The suspect robs the house and kills everyone in it.
    The same people who are criticizing the cop, would be blaming him for this,too.
    The cop did the right thing, The President did the wrong thing!

    July 24, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  13. Gord from Boston

    If the police came to my house because someone called them concerned over a break in I like most people would have apologized to the police for wasting their time and showed them my ID to let them know that I live there without them even having to ask for it because that's just common sense. I don't know Mr. Gates but not a day goes by where I don't see some egotistical hot head rip into a waitress, store clerk, cop or anyone else who deals with the public over some imagined slight. The President should have kept his mouth shut on this turkey.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  14. Craig, Stewartstown PA

    As a registered Independent, I have no malice towards President Obama nor am I avid "supporter." I think he has done a decent job as President thus far. However, I do not think he should have commented on the Cambridge Police / Gates controversy AT ALL since his position will further polarize our society on the subject of race. If he felt compelled to make a statement (and clearly he did), then he should at least have waited long enough to fully investigate ALL the facts from all sides before forming and expressing his position. This was a knee-jerk reaction on his part, and will damage his credibility and support from those in the white community who voted for him.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  15. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Yes Jack,a big mistake.If a real burglar was breaking in and he did not
    do his job and do as he was trained.Well then the very same man would cry foul on that big time.If it were me I would be so happy that the police were be so hard core about their job.It would not make me mad but happy and safer.............the professor was waaaaaaay out of line.And Mr Obama was waaaaaay out of line for using the word stupid.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  16. Michael, Bellevue, Nebraska

    No. From his own words, the officer discovered Gates’ identity before he arrested him. The only person lawfully entitled to tell me to quiet down in my own house is my wife – not even a police officer. Obama did not make this a race issue – he made it an intelligence issue, and that is what it is. To see these officers taking taxpayer time off for an unnecessary press conference to tell the nation how Obama hurt their poor feelings is a travesty. Get back to work, man!

    July 24, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  17. Amber - Austin, TX

    Ultimately no because he was telling the truth about a situation he qualifed as involving a friend. I believe any of us would have had that to say and more about a similar incident involving friends.

    He perhaps could have chosen a different word – but ultimately, he was being honest. Since when is that a bad thing?

    July 24, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  18. Gina

    I love President Obama to pieces but I think it was wrong for him to even have commented at all in this case. Seeing all the sides here, being a spectator with no emotional stake, everyone is a victim of the situation and everyone ought to move on and stop making public comments. Instead, sit down in private and resolve the frayed emotions.


    July 24, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  19. Harry

    Not a mistake. As a white male who has seen first hand the "stupid" actions exhibited by the LAPD, (I was once handcuffed, had a gun pointed at my head and made to prove I worked in a retail establishment and was not a robber WHILE I WAS HELPING CUSTOMERS AT THE FRONT COUNTER!) I get annoyed by people who stand unquestioningly by all police action. Police are just people and they takes things personally and act accordingly, often wrongly but with the power of the law to back them up. Once the cop learned Gates was in his own home, just turn and walk away. End of story and the "smart" thing to do. And for those who might think I have no respect for cops, my mother worked for the police for 30 years and I've been around them all my life. I look up to many of them. This case may not be about racism per se, but as the president said, the cop did act stupidly and it needed to be said.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  20. Peg from NY

    Yes! A BIG mistake.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  21. Martha Grimaldo

    Wouldn't it be wonderul if Professor Gates and Sargeant Crowley would come on national television and apologize to each other.

    For a black man and a white man to extend a hand shake and say let's get past this would be powerful. Forgive and Forget, why not?

    Yes, it was a mistake and a poor choice of words. BUT, I forgive him!

    July 24, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  22. Susan

    Yes he should. I love President Obama but he should not have said anything until he knew the whole story. People are really sick of the race card being pulled every time. Prejudice goes both ways in this country.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  23. Tim in Texas

    Jack, while I respect and value the service of the police force, we also have to recognize that they are given tremendous power and must use it responsibly. Basically, they arrested Gates because he was – according to them – agitated and belligerent. That may be annoying, but it's not a justification for arrest. Being arrested is a big deal, it's demeaning, expensive, and shows up on your record forever. Once the police knew it was the guy's house, they should have gotten in their cars and driven away.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  24. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    I usually agree with Obama but this time he jumped in feet first and didn't test the water. For some reason I believe the police officer this time, Gates comes on as if he just wanted to have a feud with the policeman, If I had to break into my house and the police showed up and said that someone had reported a break in, I would want them to check out my house. It is my belief that Gates is himself a racist and just wanted an excuse to go off on this officer and as he said he wants to keep it going, to me he is a racist.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  25. Kathryn

    No, President Obama need not apologize. The cop should have left the premises as soon as he confirmed the identity of Mr. Gates. Too many times incidents become events because the police mishandle the situation.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  26. jamie

    He should not apologize. I agree the police acted stupidly. Arresting a man in his own home when it was clearly established he lived there. Could this same thing have happened to a white man in Cambridge? I doubt it.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  27. Richard in Colorado

    No, he should not appologize because some (definitely not all) police personnel are just naturally bullies and like to intimidate anyone who they consider a likely target. So what if Professor Gates asked him for his badge no. and name.All he had to do was tell the Professor and walk away. Egos are hard to deal with and some in authority have big ones.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  28. George

    NEVER – even if everything the cop said is true – NEVER – after decades of cops treating people unfarily – its about time one was made a example of.... I am glad Obama voiced what millions have felt.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  29. Kim Smith, Dodge City, Kansas

    Ignorance is not knowing any better. Stupidity is knowing better, but still doing the wrong thing. Good call Mr. President.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  30. Jack Martin

    No apology should be necessary. The facts indicate his comment is appropriate for the event. He has every right to make such a comment
    Had he not said anything the liberals and the media woul be on his case just as they are. Does a president lose his right to voice an opinion on everyday events? It proves that he is still in touch with real people. More than you can say for the previous resident of the White House.
    Boynton Beach FL

    July 24, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  31. tina

    No he should not apologize. A man is arrested in his own home because the police didn't like the way the man was speaking to him. Sounds to me like the police arrested him because his feelings were hurt. Last time I checked, it's not illegal to hurt someones feelings.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  32. Frank

    No, he shouldn't. Gates was identified as the homeowner but still was tricked in to coming outside so he could be arrested because the police officer didn't like his tone inside the house. Nobody is talking about the fact that the charges were dropped. If the officers actions were so "by the book", why were the charges dropped? Bottom line, it was stupid to arrest someone after identifying them as the homeowner and securing the scene.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  33. Remy Martin


    While I do support our new prez with all that I can, I cannot support nor condon what he said in referrence to this issue. I feel that while he may have befreinded the professor at some point in life he should not have commented on this already hot button issue regardless of their relationship. All he has done was add fuel to the fire. What disappoints me more is that fact that he did not have the fore thought to see how his comments would have been taken.

    But then again, someone once said that there are no accidents in politics.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  34. Rita/ Pennsylvania

    No, calling an act stupid is not the same as calling the officer stupid. We all do stupid things at times..
    Did George W.Bush ever apologize for anything?

    July 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  35. babs in california

    No, because he's right. They did. Obama has already said all he needs to say on the subject. and Shame on the person who asked the question in the first place.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  36. Judith Shade

    Yes, Obama reacted too quickly too! My guess is Professor Gates was 'baiting' the police officer and Officer Crowley fell for the hook. This is the kind of stupidity that takes away from what's really important.

    from the state that gave you Mark Sanford!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  37. Bonnie O.

    Yes. This is a refreshing new time in our Nation's capital and in our history. I think it's wonderful that our President would take the time to speak out about every day issues and I commend him.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  38. Kyle - Arlington, VA

    Yes he should. His efforts to quell the situation have been admirable, but a simple apology would be the best way to resolve this situation. It would also provide a great example to the country, nobody's perfect, even the President.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  39. Bev

    No, President Obama said the action of the officer was stupid, not the officer. If you can't tell the difference between an action and a person, then you are not the brightest bulb in that pack.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  40. Aron

    We now know for certain that the officer(s) "acted stupidly." The charges have been dropped. Duh! The President is doing the right thing by saying he could have calibrated his statement better. When he talks, people react. However, the fact of the matter is, these cops lacked the smarts to realize that Gates is a famous and well respected professor and communicator and they were in HIS house. What happened to privacy? What happened to protecting and serving? The officers are as belligerent as they claim Gates was!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  41. Dave

    No, President Obama spoke the truth. How can someone get arrested at their home for asking for the officers badge number? Can anyone explain that to me?

    July 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  42. Keoni Mana

    of course he should apologize...anything else runs short and reflects on the diginity and class of that person's character.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  43. Mark Dysart

    I don't think the President needs to apologize. He has already indicated that his word choice was not appropriate. I suspect that this was a case of man vs. man power play and not a racial issue as it pertains to the police response. I feel that the racial aspect of this case is in the responce of the woman seeing black men at the front door and assuming a break-in and then making the 911 call. I don't know if she would have made the call if she had seen white men doing the same thing. This almost subliminal racism is something I think most whites and black deal with every day.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  44. Vince

    I don't think he should apologize but I do think he should calm Gates down from the race-storm that he's on. Ridiculous.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  45. Jon B

    From Virginia.

    Absolutly NOT, He's the President of the United States and he has his own right of free speech!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  46. ison

    Why should anyone apologize for their opinion?? They asked and he gave.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  47. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    Obama acted "stupidly" for commenting on a local matter, even after he had just admitted he didn't have all the facts.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  48. justin

    Obama should have left it alone. If the President of the United States says that an officer acted “stupidly”, that officer should be apologizing, even if he doesn’t agree.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  49. Robert Casper

    Yes, President Obama should apologize. He is the head of the Executive Branch of government. He called a law enforcement officer stupid and racist while being biased towards Dr. Gates and ignorant of the facts. What is ironic is that President Obama responded faster to this than he did to the manslaughter taking place in Iran.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  50. Michael Ferguson

    Yes, President Obama should offer an apology. That's simple. He didn't have all the facts and to make a broad racially motivated comment only inflamed the situation more. Not to mention the fact that a Havard Law Professor should know better. Shame on them both.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  51. Jackie

    No, honestly this is the elephant in the room. Every African American, especially male, knows this happens all the time. My son has been stopped by the police in his car, on his skateboard, even walking in his own neighborhood (a neighborhood he's lived in since he was 3, & he's 23 now). I'd like to see police admit this happens, more often than not, rather than have President Obama apologize for his comments.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  52. Stephen Sumner

    Everybody wants Honest Abe until we get a president that speaks his mind, and then everybody blasts him for calling it as he sees it and not keeping quiet. Everybody always wants it both ways and perfect. No wonder we're all disappointed.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  53. Ariana

    No. I dont necessarily believe that he should have said anything to begin with, but since he has , he should not apologize. I don't think people are give him his due respect as the president of the United States.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  54. Amar

    Hope the president has learned not to express his opinions without knowing the facts.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  55. Lawrence

    Yes The president should make an apology

    Secondly , he should not be involve in this kind of incident in the first place but he should be solving country's present and future's problem

    July 24, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  56. Drew, FL

    Poor choice of words, but he makes a valid point. Considering Gates was physically in his home, the onus was on law enforcement to verify the validity of Gates' statements. It should have never escalated beyond that. There was certainly no need to handcuff a cane using elderly man at his home and take him to the station for booking. I can't say with absolutely certainty what transpired, Jack, but it seems ridiculous to suggest that police actually believed Prof. Gates was a burglar in his own home. This situation should have ended the moment his identity was established.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  57. LISA, IN

    No, the President doesn't owe any apology. The whole situation was taken out of context, starting with the police entering the professors home without a warrant. Not sure if he was welcome to come in but, from the conversation, the police took it up on himself to go in. If anything, everyone involved should apology.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  58. Dave

    I'm sick of everyone having to apologize for everything nowadays, but when you're the president, your words mean something. Obama saying someone acted stupidly means a lot more coming from him than anyone else. And since he (admittedly) didn't know all of the facts, and was biased due to his friendship, it was a very unfair thing to say.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  59. Judy Petre

    The president should not apologize.

    What happened is unfortunately the cop mentality, whether black or white. Maybe racial profiling, but more the "power monger" issue.

    If a police officer tried to arrest me in my own house after I have identified myself, I would probably go balistic too.

    When does yelling and screaming in my own home warrant disorderly conduct?

    Prof. Gates did not strike anyone, have a weapon or do anything threatening.

    There was no reason to arrest him Period

    July 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  60. Jason

    Yes, he should apologize. He should have had the common sense to realize how inflammatory his works would be considered, and as the President should have said "No comment until I have all of the facts". The only fact here is that a friend of his got arrested for acting like an idiot. Obama should be ashamed for associating himself with people like that in the first place.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  61. Dan in Kent, WA

    I think the entire incident was handled stupidly on both sides. But the police officer should have been trained to de-escalate the situation. After he found out that the Professor was the resident of the house, he should have said, "Sorry for the inconvenience. Have a good evening, sir." And then he should have left. If that meant that Professor Gates was still shouting at him as he left, what harm would he have suffered? NONE! When dealing with the public (whatever your job), you need to know how to calm down a situation and know when to just walk away.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  62. Erik

    Yes, he should have offered an apology. His whole point was that "level heads" should have prevailed, and yet he, and his level head, has refused to acknowledge a mistake. I don't want to see an apology so that I can say "Ha! He made a mistake!". I want to see an apology because he needs to be the bigger man, he is the president after all, and diffuse the situation by offering an apology.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  63. Alex Milenbach

    Yes, President Obama should apologize. He was blantantly wrong in providing such harsh criticism on an issue he admitted he was not fully informed on. He should have known better. There's no shame in apologizing Mr. President.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  64. Christian

    Yes, he should apologize. Furthermore, his explanation that this is an area that is sensitive to a black person is further reprehensible. Of course it is a sensitive subject, which is all the more reason for the President to understand all the facts before commenting on the matter.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  65. Martin

    The president has a right to his opinion. He's allows to stick up for his friends and side with them.

    However, as president, he should always remember that his opinion can sway the judgement of millions of people. When he says the police acted stupidly, many people will side with his opinion because he is the president and that isn't fair for either Dr. Gates nor Sgt. Crowley.

    President Obama may have been wise to end his comment after he noted that he doesn't know all the facts and he's also good friends with Dr. Gates so his opinion would be biased. That would have been the responsible thing to do.

    Martin P., Pittsburgh, PA.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  66. MEL IN florida

    No, he was asked and he responded. Probably he wans't too diplomatic. But I believe that the officer over reacted by arresting Mr. Gates. let's just have some common sense. Yes it was stupid.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  67. Lonnie from Virginia

    I think Obama should apologize for his remarks. Espcially since none of us have the whole story of what happened.

    What is he thinking?

    July 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  68. Steve

    Of course Obama should apologize to police. He said his choice of words was "unfortunate". Excuse me? Either the police acted "stupidly", or they did not, which one is it? It's certainly not "unfortunate".

    July 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  69. Bill, California

    Yes he should apologize. First of all he wasn't there, so he couldn't have known what Gates said or did. Secondly, how come the media didn't notice there was a black policeman on the scene. How could it be a racial incident when a black sergeant, same rank as Crowley, was right there. Now he (Sergeant Lashley) says Crowley acted properly and Gates should have been arrested. So who sounds stupid now?

    July 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  70. dave harbold

    Yes he should apologize to the policeman involved and cops in general for make a stupid comment and getting involved in something that does come under his presidential duties. "No comment" comes to mind.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |

    President Obama is an american citizen and in this country you can say whatever you like, I do believe that is the 1st amendment. That is why we all live here in the US and not in a foreign country where individuals are prosecuted for what they say.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  72. Linda Vincent

    ABSOLUTELY I have been a strong supporter of Barrack Obama i was extremely disappointed in his inappropriate comments. It makes me question who he really is
    He was wrong to makea national judgement based on a friendship. Cops need to follow rules too and they responded to a burglary report Prof Gates should be grateful not accusatory after that i don't know enough to comment. Obama shouldn't either... I agree with Bill Cosby

    July 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  73. Kim Hewson

    In a word..."Apologize". Gates was arrogant and pushed his own paranoid agenda. He overreacted and pushed the officer too far. Simple but true.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  74. Steve

    The police department should have used some common knowledge and ask if assistance was needed instead of charging him on the spot and arresting the man. In my opinion Obama called it right and the officer acted stupidly. As for the whole police department I say this: Obama was talking about one cop not the entire force


    July 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  75. F T Buchanan

    One thing is for sure – if officer Crowley had said publicly that Professor Gates had acted "stupidly" he would have been forced to apologize.

    Bonita Springs Florida

    July 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  76. Steve

    Yes. Even as a Obama supporter he should not have opened his mouth before knowing all of the facts surrounding the circumstances. It was poor judgment to presume it was racial. I wonder if he would have made the same comments if the roles were reversed and it was a black officer and the professor was white.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  77. Lee

    I think he should apologize. He above everyone else should know the value of words, lord knows he uses enough of them. Inferring anyone is "stupid" the way he did is just not "pc" and especially when it involves something as volitale as race issues.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  78. Carla-Kansas City

    C'mon give an apology and move forward. President Obama chose his words very poorly and should know not to get into a situation without all of the facts.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  79. David L. Davila Georgetown KY - Toyota Country


    No, the President should not apologize to the police officer because he did do a stupid act in arresting someone in their own home. We are not a police state but maybe we are becoming one. The police offficer should have left the premise after Gates had given proof of ownership of home.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  80. Chris

    No. Not all. He is the President of the United States. Need I say more. This Sargent and the police department of Cambridge Massachusets should stop bragging about their ethics, because they definately screwed this one up.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  81. Virginia

    Jack, when common sense does not prevail then actions can be stupid!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  82. Greg

    Well, did he mean what he said? Does President Obama think the police acted stupidly or not? Did he err in making a statement that would be considered an insult to one party if he did not have all the facts of the incident? If so, he should either stick to his guns and defend the statement or apologize. I truly think President Obama feels that the officers that night acted stupidly and that race was a factor.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  83. Rashedul Ahsan

    President Obama should apologize to the police officer.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  84. Andy

    Yes, he should appologize. Police officers have a tough enough job with out our President criticizing police officers when he doesn't have the facts.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  85. Wayne Williams

    Very disapionted in the president, thought I was electing a president that would help unite the races, not create further division.

    Wayne Williams, Atlanta Ga.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  86. Elizabeth McCarthy

    President Obama should have simply said that he had no comment until the investigation into the matter was concluded. He wasn't there. He gave a painfully LONG, LONG response and it would have been better if he had just let the investigation take it's own course. I think he should drop the whole issue and let the cop and professor Gates go have a beer together if THEY want to, just stay out of it.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  87. David

    Apologize for What calling what the Cambridge Police Department did Stupid. It was stupid!
    Once identification was ascertain. The Sgt should have just walk away.
    Gates was not a threat to anyone or himself. So why arrest him?
    I dont know the Sgt, but if the Cambridge Police department was so right in their arrest. Then why not Prosecute... The GOP are always talking about waste in America, now we want to waste the courts time with a case of a man Breaking into his own house. Whats the Charge? How can you be disorderly for ranting in your own house? If that's the case then we need a lot more jails to house all of the people who complain and rant in there own homes. I didnt know until this case that it was a crime to do so.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  88. Len Smith

    No reason to apologize. Prehaps the policeman and the professor need to apologize to each other, as there appears to be reason for both to act the way they did and maybe both acted supidly. Much make about nothing.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  89. Hayley DeBough

    Absolutely, he should. You said it best, Jack- "stuff happens!"- and when it does... just say "sorry."

    July 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  90. Victoria from Mission Viejo, California


    Obama should NOT have to appologize for speaking his mind on the way the Cambridge police handled the arrest of Mr. Gates. What did Obama do wrong by suggesting they had poor judgement? The police are criticizing Obama just the same, so everyone's pointing fingers at each other at this point. Everyone should just drop what happened and move on before this turns into something bigger than it has already become.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  91. Leslie

    No! he is still an African American male and he has the right to voice his opinion

    July 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  92. Jeff

    Yes, he should and so should Gates. You have to give police some benefit of the doubt (but also hold them accountable to fair conduct/practices visavis the public). These guys put their lives on the line for all races. Gates was wrong to insult the officer's mother. As an African American, he knows the impact that will have. Gates has lost much credibilty in my eyes now. Perhaps he will now align himself more with the Al Shaprton's and be a crusader fior black american "causes" in all shapes, forma, locales, etc.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  93. Elizabeth

    Police officers do not appreciate being spoken to the way Skip Gates did. That being said, once the officers finally gave him their badge numbers and names, and got Mr. Gates to turn over his identification, they should have left. He did not assault any officers. Frankly, egos got in the way. Regardless, the Cambridge Police department issued a statement well prior to President Obama's comments apologizing for their actions. In light of all this, the President should NOT have to apologize for stating the obvious and the truth.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  94. jim milliken

    of course he should apologize. he is the president of the "united states." not a president of a certain group.

    if anyone should wait for the facts to become clear it is the president.

    this is not even close.

    by the way i love your show.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  95. Steve

    No I don't think he should apologize. Admitting the wrong choice of words and also by calling and talking to the officer should be enough on his part. Truth is the arrest was kinda stupid (and not racially motivated IMO) but Obama should know when to duck such questions. Oh well this will be forgotten until the next "racial incident" brouhaha.....

    July 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  96. Marvin

    I think Pres. Obama's comments were spot on today. No need to take it any further.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  97. Dr. Roger MacMillan

    For a graduate of the Harvard School of Law, as well as being President of the United States, he should know better than to "comment" on an incident that happened in Cambridge, especially when he admitted that he did not know all the facts!I would think that he had enough to keep him busy. I am sorry, but his actions only promote racial tensions. He should apologize to the officer and his department ( though I think he would consider that too demeaning), if for no other reason that , as a lawyer, he should know better. Obama was quick to criticize the previous administration for being a bully – who is using the bully pulpit now?

    July 24, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  98. Melissa from MA

    Yes. He should.
    He used emotionally charged words like "acting stupidly" against the Cambridge Police Department before he even had all the facts. He should have known better that he is speaking from the Highest Office in the Country. Every word that he utters in the public forum carries authority and he should shoulder all responsibilities for the misuse of the words. Law abiding citizens do not ordinarily mouth off at police officers when the latter are doing their jobs to protect and to serve.
    Yes. Race profiling is still a problem in this country. But in this case, reading from the two police reports, it is clear that it is not about racial profiling or even racism. Let's not have the two issues mixed up.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  99. Valerie

    Yes, he should have apologized. As someone who supports him, I did react with a gasp when I heard him say it during the press conference the other night. I knew it would turn out to be a controversial statement, it's best he apologize and get on with the business of Health Care.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  100. JC in Georgia

    No apology should come from Obama, but he should take care not to make judgements before he has all the facts. We leave that task to the judicial branch.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  101. Berda from Tennessee

    It should have been over with after he checked his ID. Period. Nothing was left after that but acting out of line . Obama SHOULD NOT apologize. It was stupid!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  102. ronvan

    When is the last time we have had a president that shows so much humanity? NO, I do not think he is perfect but to come out and say both are invited, for a beer, to discuss the matter, for me, shows his integrity, and true concerns.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  103. Amie Bruneau

    Minneapolis, MN

    The only apology needed is from the Cambridge Police Department to Mr. Gates and now also to the entire nation due to their continued bad behavior. It became known by them that Mr. Gates was the owner of that home and thus they should have said 'good day' and left immediately. Off the premise, off the porch and off his property. Mr. Gates may act however he pleases on his property. The police had no right to be on that property anymore, they were not invited and the breaking and entry crime was not being committed. They need to remember their sole purpose is to serve and protect the people not intimidate and harrass.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  104. Mark, Philadelphia

    President Obama should absolutely apologize. He misspoke even after prefacing his comments with, "I don't know all the facts." The right thing to do is to apologize, not only to the arresting office, Sgt Crowley, but also to the Cambridge Police Deparment and to police departments across the country. Anything short of that, well, comes up short.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  105. Herby Locke

    He should absolutely apologize to Officer Crowley, the Cambridge Police organization and to all police officers in the USA. BHO admitted he did not have facts but then he immediately took the professors side which is extremely unprofessional. After all BHO is half white but he always acts full black.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  106. Pete Murphy

    Sure he should alologize to the cop,he just opened his mouth to soon and made a stupid mistake so why not it is just that simple.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  107. MD

    President Obama should say that he is sorry for prejudging a situation that he admittedly had no facts about. He may or not be right but as the President, he should not have commented without more information. The President showed his bias, either based on friendship or race, and he should be way above that. He is supposed to be the President of all of us.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  108. John Peterson

    The President should apologize. It was irresponsible of him to condemn the officer who arrested Gates – especially after conceding that he did not have all the facts – and to suggest that the officer's actions were racially motivated.

    I would expect more tempered statements from the man who erstwhile referred to himself as the "post-racial candidate".

    July 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  109. Robert

    President Obama made a rush to judgment. When police receive a call of a possible burglary in progress it is their duty to respond and investigate. If Henry Louis Gates refused to show ID and become beligerent, what are the police supposed to think. What if someone was really robbing his house, wouldn't he have wanted the police to come an see who was breaking down his door? I think the police acted professionally in view of Mr Gates behavior.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  110. Butch Murden, Irving Texas

    The president has no business making comments like this especially without the facts. This goes to demonstrate a lack of leadership when you address anything without all the facts.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  111. Ricky

    Obama represents power of public sentiments and police represents power to crusade that sentiments. Obama just echoed what a minority person feel when he faces police in everyday business. Police union overstepped its line the moment they asked for Obama's apology. They should go for sabbatical to any democratically elected middle-east country and atleast learn how to respect commander-in-chief.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  112. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    My grandmother always said "The least said is the easiest mended."

    July 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  113. Betty

    May I state I am a fan of Professor Gates' work on PBS, but he should apologize. President Obama stated he didn't know the facts but wrongly voiced an opinion anyway, he should apologize.
    I have called police in my area when I noticed someone climbing a balcony to break into an apartment. Could have been innocent but also could had been at the worst deadly, that was for the police to decide. How would the Professor feel if his home had been robbed or worst if he had been attacked and no one called?

    July 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  114. Dympna Ugwu-Oju

    Yes, because it sets an example for the rest of us that when one misspeaks, he/she must make amends. This is not to say that the police officer used great judgment in arresting Prof. Gates. The president should have chosen his words more carefully.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  115. Pierre

    The fact that the Cambridge police dropped the initial charges against Gates speaks volumes about their actions. They didn't have a legal leg to stand on and the officer (whichever versions of the facts you want to believe) acted stupidly in arresting Gates. One’s home is his kingdom and that shouldn’t be different for anyone whatever the colour of his skin. The president should not offer any excuse.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  116. Alicia Haley

    He apologized for his choice of words but the facts are still the same. This is only an issue because President Obama weighed in on an very hidden racism act that happens on a daily basis in the United States....and guess what he happens to be African American and possibly could have been a victim of that kind of harrassment.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  117. Jeff Stinson

    What is it with presidents never wanting to apologize? Bush was undoubtedly guilty of this on many occasions and so was Clinton, for sure, and now even our leader of "change" seems to view an apology as a weakness. When are we going to elect leaders who have the courage and strength to outright admit when they are wrong?

    Jeff Stinson – Cambridge, MA

    July 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  118. Amanda

    Why should the President apologize? By the defensiveness of this officer and many in his department shows me that he has some issues. Once the professor showed him identification validating that he lived there, the officer should have asked if Mr. Gates needed him and when he said no, he should have left.
    I think they did act stupidly and probably a few other words worth saying. They should be ashamed of themselves. Even as a white American their actions in the last few days have offended me. The people of this country are not stupid and can see there are more serious undertones to the officers' actions.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  119. Allan Hanson Placerville,Ca

    NO, everybody should step down and let this thing die. If the media would quit over covering this it would go away. Both sides have over reacted, and the media has overblown it.
    Slow news day?

    July 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  120. Gloria Seelig

    Yes, Obama should appoligize for this mistake . Obama did not act like a president, so I will not address him as such.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  121. Anne

    I feel that Mr. Obama's impertinence was completely unacceptable. He openly admitted that he was not completely aware of the full situation, yet he blatantly expressed his own opinion. I believe he should publicly apologize for his response to the arrest and focus on matters that truly require his attention.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  122. Timothy Harding

    Yes, President Obama should offer an apology. Every time he responds to questions about this incident, he says something that maligns the Profession of Law Enforcement generally, or the arresting Officer specifically. His subsequent clarifications only serve to further aggravate the situation, and quite frankly show him to be of a mindset that he well disguised during the campaign. I voted for him, but I am starled by his statements. He should offer an unqualified apology, then drop it!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  123. Akuoma

    Obama should offer no appology, yes he could have choosen another word in place of stupid. The important message here is, stop the racial profiling, for those officers who right now are quick to arrest minorities for the same crime that a white person may not get arrested, STOP IT NOW. Its unfornate that the good message was ignored and everyone is focusing on the word "stupid".

    July 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  124. JC

    Absolutely not. While I don't doubt there was some outrage by Gates, I also don't doubt it was provocted by the gestapo police this country is infested with. Seems once Gates proved he was the resident, the police should have left it at that. Obama is right when he said police acted stupidly. Don't we see those videos all the time on TV?

    July 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  125. Rick

    Yes. This issue was way below his paygrade and he spoke, again, without knowing all the particulars.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  126. Wes Chipman

    I think putting President Obama on the spot with this question was dumb and fishing exactly for this kind of media over reaction.

    From what I have read, the cops and the owner did things that did not foster positive communication and if both parties acted with cool heads and not defensivly all of this crap could have been avoided. Period.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  127. Patricia Jones Blessman, PhD

    No, Obama should not apologize. Crowley did over react and acted "stupidly" in arresting Gates. As a police officer, especially one who supposedly teaches others how to handle them selves in cross cultural situations, Crowley should have been better prepared to handle the situation. He should have taken the higher road and de-fused the situation. Further the Cambridge police who followed through in arresting Gates, booking him, etc. misused precious police resources in "amening" Crowley's misadventures. Crowley was wrong for arresting Gates, period....that is why the charges were dropped.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  128. dave

    Yes. Just because he is the President doesn't mean he shouldn't abide by the common courtesy of offering an apology that any other citizen should offer when he or she mistakenly puts their foot in their mouth. – Chicago, IL

    July 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  129. Mike

    I think that the president should have refrained from answering the question. He must have known that his comment would charge the situation. He didn't have all the facts, but continued to side with his friend. Maybe he will learn a lesson from this. I am happy that today I don't have to listen to him talk about his health care plan.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  130. susan apicella

    Pres. Obama owes the Cambridge police an apology.
    He was not there, and yet he took the professor's side.
    talk about reverse racism? perfect example.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  131. Berta Cafferty

    Of course President Obama should apologize to the police department and to the arresting policeman. He is the one who "acted stupidly" by even commenting on this. Even Bush didn't interfere with local police departments. Is Obama racist? Makes you wonder.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  132. Osman Yasar

    No need for apology. President Obama put his finger on a racial issue that is beyond just the police conduct. This incident is similar to what happened in our neighborhood of all white but one family of color. One evening, a neighbor called the police reporting that there was a (suspicious) black man walking in front of her house. The police did not arrest him but he endured the burden of proving his residence on the street (many steps including showing ID, putting hands up on the head, and leading police to his house). What is the
    chance of this happening to a white man like me?

    July 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  133. Beth

    Obama acted "stupidly" for getting involved in this issue to begin with. He really should apologize to the officer. Unfortunately, for some, Obama's response just added fuel to the racial fire. Something I don't think he meant to do.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  134. David Ameeti

    One of the people mentioned in the article put it best: If the words spoken are "I don't have all the facts in front of me", the next words (regardless of your personal feelings) should be "so I can't comment [intelligently] at this time." It's that simple.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  135. seg from houston

    Isn't part of "Veritas" knowing when to shut up? Even well-paid Ivy League professors and presidents have lessons to learn. Let it lie. These three guys will work it out.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  136. Jay

    Apologizing is no longer an option after the White House said they stand behind the statement.

    Regardless of whether he should apologize or not, he never should have gotten involved in the issue in the first place... definitely not so directly to that specific situation if it indeed is a common occurrence.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  137. Angela

    Of COURSE he should apologize! He was totally out of line, and by his saying what he said, he baited the press to spend an entire two days now on this nonsense.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  138. Steve Chicago

    Without a doubt he should apologize!!!!! You cannot undermind the efforts of any enforcement agency!! Gates should also apologize!!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  139. Pamela Lira

    Yes, I think the president shouldn't be getting into racial issues that come up just because he knows somebody. this is way out of hand and he should be involved. doesn't have anything more important? It seems that everything is about race since he became president

    July 24, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  140. Doug

    Absolutely! The only person here who "acted stupidly" was Obama. The officer was reacting to the call of a possible break in reported by a neighbor. Reports say there had been a rash of them in the area. The neighbor acted in good faith, the officer acted in good faith. Anytime an officer requests ID the smart thing to do is to comply, don't give the officer a hard time about it. If the prof had produced his ID the officer could have determined immediately that the man belonged there and could then clear the call. No, everything gets blown out of proportion and charges are filed for disorderly conduct.
    We then have this man who clearly states he doesn't have all the facts taking sides against the police. He discredits the title, "President". He should be ashamed of himself, but unfortunately, he thinks everyone that disagrees with his point of view is wrong no matter how stupid!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  141. Sam

    Yes, he should apologize. He made rash judgements on a situation he admittedly knew nothing about. And in process, recklessly disregarded the undeserved impact his comments would have on the reputation of a police officer just performing his duty. No one should be above the law, not even a professor at Harvard or a friend of the president. If you impede their ability to do their job in serving and protecting the public, you deserve to be arrested.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  142. Jeff

    President Obama should realize that he is the President of the United States, and should not comment from the hip. I am very disappointed that he chose to jump on the "racism" bandwagon. Here is a guy who is supposed to represent me....be my President, now I wonder if he has a little racism in himself.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  143. Andrew Broering

    I think you really said it Jack. While nothing Obama said may have been entirely inaccurate, he spoke too quickly and that was reckless. The more info that comes in about this story, the more likely it appears that Professor Gates is motivated to use the publicity to further some sort of agenda...

    July 24, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  144. Gregory Miami Beach, FL.

    I admire those who choose to go into law enforcement for unselfish reasons, but there are those who have disdain for people who are different and use their position of authority as a bully pulpit. there is something well known on the streets called an " attitude arrest ". I've gotten it twice, once for shrugging my shoulders and once for asking a qustion about where to find a late night restaurant after I was told to leave. The arrest reports read like some kind of action movies which ofcourse never happened. When you graduate high school you think that you don't have to worry about bullies anymore until you see a badge on them. I'm a veteran,taxpayer,homeowner, and yes I'm white and I don't feel safe when I see the police, I feel fear!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  145. Bob Miller

    Jack, a man was arrested in his own house for no reason and the prosecutor dropped the charges because they were ridiculous. Obama was just stating what everyone was thinking and now he has to make a token apology to a bunch of white southern bigots who run the Republican hate machine just to resume the health care debate. What a joke. Sometimes I'm ashamed to be a primate.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  146. Bobby D

    Of course he should, but don't hold your breath. Funny though, he doesn't seem to have a problem with apologizing for America.
    How about that special olympics crack a while ago. Seems this guy has been hanging around Joey Biden too much.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  147. Beth Keiser

    Absolutely not!!!! What should happen, however, is to let this nonsense go! Let's focus on getting the President's health plan passed. He's knocking himself out trying to improve the lives of everyone. Isn't health care reform more important? How sad that this is the focus of attention.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  148. tom ohmes

    Definitely he should. His comments when added to his attitude smack of racism pure and simple. He obviously thought the copy was stupid and guilty of racism for arresting a loud mouth.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  149. Albert

    Not only should the president offer an appology but Prof Gates should as well. When President Obama was campaigning for office he said: I want to change Washington. Insinuating the Bush administration was arrogant etc etc. By his comments that the police acted stupidly, he did not change Washington's actions only the colour.

    A disappointed Canadian

    July 24, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  150. Henrie - Ithaca NY

    He's already come out and made a statement.
    The incident was two men – who both felt they were right and neither one would give in. Any apology should be between the two men involved.
    I would worry more about Russ Limbaugh trying to stir up trouble over this.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  151. Gay Montree

    The President should not apologize for speaking truthfully, He was asked for an opinion and he gave one. People need to understand that the truth is not always pleasant. The arresting officer should apologize and the whole thing should be dropped.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  152. Chimanrao

    Obama must apologize for his choice of words and rushing to judgement without knowing the facts. Nobody is above the law and I thought Obama is smart and intelligent but in this case and many others lately he dissapointed Americans.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  153. Nancy J. Kelly

    Jack: Good grief! Apologies all around already. Don't we all need to apologize for SOMETHING?! Elkhart IN

    July 24, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  154. Jonathan (San Diego, California)

    Hi Jack,

    Maybe Officer Sgt. Crowley acted appropriately and Professor Gates Jr. should have showed his identification. But in the words of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, "It Doesn't Matter!" However you want to semantically define President Obama's use of the word "stupid," a Harvard professor was arrested for entering his own home, and that is stupid, whether we have to be nicey nice about the situation or not. Racial profiling exists! I sure wish the media payed attention to every single breath that George Bush made early on in his presidency. Where was the excessive media criticism then? The media is eight years too late!

    – Jonathan

    July 24, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  155. Tino

    Not really because Prof. Gates was arrested for overreacting in his own home. It was already established and accepted by the police that he was in his home and he did overreact but you don't arrest someone because he "offended" a cop in his own home. Think about it, yes, he was not nice to the cop but you don't arrest people just because they are not nice to a policeman in his own nome, that is not disobedience. In public it would be but not in his own home.
    tino, nyc

    July 24, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  156. terry masci

    President Obama should absolutely apologize. By his snap judgement without facts and pulling the race card, he has now given justification to anyone across the United States to challenge any police officer about anything if they think they can play the race card. I thought he was a President who wanted to heal racism in America not fuel it. And also I would think that using proper judgement to solve rather than fuel a problem would call for the utmost skill in such a matter, the type of skill that a person like the President of the United States would have.......ooops he is. Oh well, what a jerk!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  157. nisha

    IT is never wrong to say "sorry"...

    It only makes the person better and more alert in choosing the words they use...As on old indian proverb say:
    "Man is the master of the words he doesn't use
    but a slave of the words he has use"


    July 24, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  158. Brad

    Absolutely, President Obama should apologize. He made a hurtful and ill advised comment before knowing the facts of the case. Police officers can not rush to judgement on any situation and in this case thay had to investigate and find out who was in the house even though on the surface it appeared to be the homeowner. If officers make assumptions then they compromise officer safety and fail to thoroughly do their job. Should Cambridge police officers now not respond when getting called about a suspicious person at Mr. Gates' residence. I wouldn't go for fear of being blessed out by the homeowner..


    Hickory, N.C.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  159. Scott

    Yes, and he should go on to say that he himself acted "stupidly" by speaking authoritatively about this incident when he admittedly did not have all the facts.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  160. Chuck from Alaska

    Jack- The answer to your question is "No." I agree the police acted appropriately in responding to the call , and questioning Mr. Gates in light of the facts that had been relayed to the police, but it is hard to justify the arrest of Mr. Gates after he provided identification and there was not dispute he was the lawful occupant of the home. The officer's arrest was not appropriate and appears to me to have been done because Mr. Gates was angry and argued with the officer and felt he had been mistreated. The police hold enermous power, they possess weapons and the power to arrest, and they should be held to a higher standard and owe a duty to deescalate tensions in situations like this when the facts clelary demonstrate Mr. Gates had done nothing wrong. Once the officer learned Mr. Gates was the owner of the home he should have concluded his investigation and left without further incident.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  161. Gus in Iowa

    Well, I haven't actually read anything other than headlines, but I'm going to go ahead and say yes, yes he should.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  162. Victoria, Pensacola, Fl.

    It's to late ... I think he has done a great amount of damage to his credibility. With the comments he made I am starting to wonder if his decisions could be biased. The police were doing their job and asking for identification is reasonable. I would think that Gates would have been thankful that the police were interested enough to check on his home for a possible break-in. I think his reaction was more based on the fact that Gates is an elite and felt that he was above the law and should not have been questioned and only after the police refused to be verbally abused did he cry "racial profiling"

    July 24, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  163. Cecelia Barrett

    The issue is that the US President without knowing all the facts jumped to the conclusion that a white policeman was wrong and a black friend was completely without blame in the arrest of that friend.
    The President then went on to insult that policeman, thereby all policemen and all US citizens of other racial groups. the President is not part of the problem, he is the problem. The job of President requires a more mature man or woman.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  164. David Donaldson

    -Arrest a man in his own home because he yelled at a police officer? Did Dr. Gates hurt Sgt. Crowley's feelings? He did act stupidly, and no, the president should not apologize. Washington, DC

    July 24, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  165. David

    Where was Obama's diplomacy that I feel he has used so well in international relations ??? He certainly sounded the fool in commenting on a situation where he had none of the on scene facts. He commented as just a friend who defended another friend. He did not sound presidential, nor act presidential in his comments. As he watches his favorable ratings slide, it is actions like this that will lose support, not gain it. I want a president who speaks and acts intelligently on behalf of our nation. Not one that brings back the days of the previous president.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  166. larry

    President Obama should ABSOLUTELY apologize... at the very least for making a comment about a police matter without all the facts. NO public official should ever do that and to do so is certainly not very presidential. The President even said "I may be biased..." before making his comments. Does this mean that our President will be making other decisions based on his biases and without all of the facts? His comments certainly affect lives and reputations, so how could he be so irresponsible? If the President of the United States of America called out any individual as "stupid", can you imagine what impact that would have personally or professionally?

    Now what is needed is for him to clarify his position, get off the fence and make a real statement rather then talking about "unfortunate" statements and not making a real apology or throwing support behind what he really believes. Mr. President, do you apologize or not? Careers, reputations, and lives are on the line. What's it going to be?

    July 24, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  167. Bryan Danek

    I believe that Obama should apologize for possibly offending any other Law Enforcement officers in or outside of Cambridge and admit, as he has, that he did not choose the best words in his comments. However, we must remember that President Obama is also an American who can voice his opinion on topical matters as we all do. People also need to remember that Obama did not choose to get in the middle of the debates but was asked the question by a reporter.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  168. Declan

    The President should not have commented in the first place. He clearly proclaimed that he was "biased" in his opinion - due to his friendship with Gates. Moreover, he admitted not having all the facts. It would have been more presidential to simply say "I don't have all the facts and therefore I cannot comment".

    Declan, Chandler AZ

    July 24, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  169. Ashley Kayser

    I've raised my children to always apologize if they hurt someones feelings....perhaps if the police officer would extend a sincere apology we, the country, could get back to important matters...like who is really responsible for Michael Jackson depraved addictions....duh.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  170. Angela Morales

    I can understand why Gates was upset about being questioned in his own home. I don;t understand why he was arrested. In this age of technology, isn't it possibe that his picture could have been displayed on a police cruiser computer screen and his ID be verified? Could this be an abuse of power on the part of law enforcement/ There doesn't seem to be civility from officers these days. They often curse at you and bully you around when they want information.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  171. Edwin

    An apology is not in order. The president was making a reference to an unfortunate situation to which most rational, clear thinking, open minded people can characterize as stupid. I beleive the police officer and Mr. Gates may have overreacted; nevertheless, it is not a crime to raise one's voice, use profanity or get upset in the presence of a police officer. Once Mr. Gates proved he resided at the house in questioned, the case should have been closed and the matter should have ended.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  172. Shonetelle

    NO, NO, NO...The President does not owe the police department an apology. The police did "act stupidly" in arresting Professor Gates. Are you kidding me? Afterall, he is "only" one of the most prominant African American scholars in the nation. What else do you call it, particularly when someone is arrested under suspicion of breaking and entering their own home. And since Sgt. James Crowley has taught a course on racial profiling for five years, then he "should" understand first-hand the sensitive nature of potentially "falsely accusing" people of color. This is a rediculous debate. And the fact that the president has been publicized for his comments, only furthers the absurdity. It further proves that even when right, minorities (i.e., Dr. Gates, President Obama) "the most systematically powerless groups" in the nation are still subject to higher rates of scrutiny, incriminization, and victimization.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  173. Pete

    Yes, he should apologize. He should be for all the people, not just his friends or people of color.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  174. mary (Little Rock AR)

    yes, he should have apologize for saying the word "stupidly." I don't think that he should appologize for saying that black men are a target for police brutality. Since he did address the situation, maybe the story will go-away. Then they will find something else to pick on the President about. I think the press just love to put the President in a bad situation. Hang in there President.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  175. john

    If mr. obama did not have all the facts or known the entire story, then he should have kept his mouth shut on this issue.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  176. Debra Wardencki

    Yes the President should apologize. Any President is for ALL the people of the United States. It is our President's responsibility to set an example for the people of America to follow. We want to be able to look up to him. A change in the way race is percieved needs to start with Obama.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  177. Ross

    No. There is no need for the president to apologize. We train cops to handle violent and life threatening situations. Surely they can handle tough critique about their actions. The arrest was unnecessary because Gates was in his own house and was clearly not a threat to anyone. The police should have left and moved on to a more serious matter.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  178. linda smith

    YES, YES, YES.....he should apologize. Presidents need to stay objective and because Gates was a so-called friend he acted with his emotions. If he wants to change the racial divide he needed to approach things differently. I am truly disappointed in Obama allowing himself to be victimized by what happened! He should have had all the facts before he opened his mouth...so disappointing. Things are truly never going to change!

    You need to not question the POLICE when they are trying to do their job! Gates was wrong and the OFFICER WAS CORRECT end of story........these's no race card here....

    July 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  179. chiquita brice

    President Obama did apologize in his own way. What he did by calling the officer and then stating publicly his comments is enough. Please can be move on to the health care reform.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  180. Amanda

    Yes. The officer acted in a self preserving manner and this does not make him stupid. If a police officer comes to your home because a neighbor calls to report a break in, you should be respectful and cooperative as they are there to protect YOUR property. Obama should have not jumped to conclusions and therefore should apologize. I have been a supporter of Obama, but he has egg on his face with this one.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  181. Carol

    No, the President should not apologize. I think anyone would be entitled to be outraged, accosted in one's own house, but how does an irate, older man get arrested in his own house when he didn't assault a police officer – only to have the charges dropped soon after? One answer – the police being officious, in other words stupid!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  182. Marilyn, Powell Ohio

    I am a proud supporter of President Obama and I watched as he made that comment and immediately said he is wandering into some deep waters without knowing how to swim and not wearing a life jacket.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  183. Dave

    Absolutely! He should apologize. He abused his power! I thought we had a president that looks forward. Apparently his is clinging to the past and stirring up distension and racism in America. He needs to be a role model for African Americans and be better than that. Very Poor Judgment by a man that is supposed to be so smart.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  184. dave

    Obama made a quick judgment based on the fact that the officer was white. This in itself is racially motivated. He should apologize.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  185. Sally

    No. The officers did act stupidly when they escalated this incident to an arrest. We expect our police officers to use good judgment in making the important initial decision to arrest someone. Arresting a person who is justifiably upset at being suspected of being a criminal when they have arrived home after a long trip, does not show good judgment. Hence the actions were "stupid".

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  186. scott in tennessee

    No! I think the president was refering to something that goes deeper than racial profiling. For many years and especially since 9/11 the police have been put on a pedistal like never before in our country. Is it possible that the last bastion of liberty is in our homes? If so, as long as I am not harming myself or others, leave me alone. After the police knew the situation and found no crime was committed, no matter how insulting this guy was, the job of the police was done. Could it be that in believing that our law officers are heroes beyond reproach, we have unwittingly helped move our country towards a poilce state? In our country it has become a popular refrain that "we are a nation of laws" thank goodness our rights and protections were established by men who were considered outlaws.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  187. Vivian- Minnesota

    Let me see, they arrested a man in his own home because he got a little upset for being questioned about being the home owner. Is that stupid? OH YEAH!

    Vivian Cowan
    Isanti, MN

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  188. Michael Fox

    Funny thing about apologies, no one seems to want to give one straight out. They dress it up under 'mispeaking,' or some other euphemism, but what they are really trying to say is: "I screwed up, can this go away please without me actually saying the 'a' word?" If more people used that word, this world might be a better place.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  189. Brian

    Jake, what you forget is that the officer was told someone was breaking into the house. Ultimately, for any officer, his own safety is paramount. Just because someone says they live there does not mean there isn't an issue there. Even when he proved he lived there, he was not arrested for that. He was arrested for the way he acted and treated the officer. As someone who is familiar with law enforcement, I certainly think the officer acted properly. And Obama absolutely should apologize for not only getting involved in something he has nothing to do with, but also for insulting the fine men and women of the Cambridge Police.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  190. Brian

    Yes. President Obama was wrong to accuse the Cambridge authorities of "acting stupidly". This was a local issue that would have went away in a day or two, as Jack Cafferty says. The most President Obama should have said was somthing like "I don't have all the facts yet but I trust that the local authorities are handling the situation appropriately."

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  191. Gary

    Of course he should. He spoke without knowing the facts. Plus, he interjected a racial overtone that wasn't there. The minute it happened any 'smart' american was all over his mistake. He should be a man here.

    Obama is showing signs of the same arrogance that brought down Bush. A few more of these gaffes and the saviour will be in trouble...

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  192. Emme

    Professor Gates wasn't arrested for "being in his own home" but for becoming hostile with the police officer. The officer would have reacted the same way (an appropriate way) had the "offender" been black, white or any shade in between. Highly irresponsible comment by President Obama.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  193. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    I think Obama used poor judgement, due to his inexperience under the national spotlight. For him to say he ws surprised at the reaction to his comments also shows this. No Drama Obama decided to wade into a divisive, racially charged issue so there will be no winners. I am sick of the constant demands for apologies which come about as a matter of course for any controversial issue. Because of this, I don't think BO should apologize; it would be used as additional fodder to keep this issue alive. BO, however, should clam up and offer no more comments. He did demean police officers who have a dangerous job. Look no further than the recent shootings at the holocaust museum to see how an old timer can be dangerous; the guard killed was trying to help the old man shooter open the door. Relaxing for a second and assuming someone is harmless before verifying gets people killed.
    BO should also take note that the stories about health care reform have now taken a backseat.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  194. Tommy

    The President may not have had "all the facts", but he had enough of them to make a very valid comment. Now please, every policeman and woman reading this, pay attention:

    If you are arresting and handcuffing an unarmed, middle-aged gentleman after aggressively entering his own occupied home without permission or warning, you should second guess your actions, your department's procedures, and even the very reason you have taken up the responsibility to serve and protect a community.

    It's that simple. Be honest with yourself. This is America, and the police are not supposed to act like a domestic paramilitary unit. Shame on you.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  195. Cheryl

    The President spoke too soon before knowing all the facts, true. He should not have spoken before he knew, but the fact that he jumped to a conclusion is only human and we all do everyday. The final conclusion chosen is really the telling part of all of us. Some, before knowing the truth, concluded instantly that Professor Gates deserved the arrest and that he was probably an activist for black rights who had intentionally pushed the envelop. Others, concluded instantly that this was again yet another instance where law enforcement authorities wanted to believe the worst first when dealing with a minority citizen. And 33% of the time, each side's pre-fact conclusions would have been correct and 33% of the time, the truth falls somewhere in between. An apology for jumping to a conclusion is warranted, an apology for the conclusion he jumped to, no.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  196. Stephen

    Yes. The President appears to be developing a 'micro-management' style of leadership.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  197. Eric

    I voted for McCain, but find much to like about President Obama personally. One thing I like is that he has said that he will make mistakes, and, when he does he will acknowledge them. I think this is such an instance. I don't see a need for a formal, bended-knee apology but I'll leave that to the officer(s) involved. I think Obama recognizes that he has upset a lot of people who view the incident at Prof. Gates' home as an unnecessary squabble. I appreciate that he called and spoke to the officer. In hindsight, maybe the officer should not have arrested Prof. Gates, not because his actions didn't merit the charge, but because nothing good could come of it. I'm disappointed that a professor at one of our revered institutions of higher learning immediately assumed that the police were motivated by racial bias in questioning why he was trying to forcibly enter the home. Perhaps in the future, if someone else tries to break in to Prof. Gates' home, the police will just assume that the person doing so has the right to be there and has locked his keys inside. I think the professor's attitude also tells us why theNew Haven Fire Department feared a lawsuit and denied promotions for the firefighters who were qualified. We all have to take a step back and think seriously when we suspect that racism is afoot. There are sadly, still too many racially-motivated acts in this country. Leaping to that conclusion immediately is not helpful. Labeling anyone who you believe has committed a wrong against you as racist serves no purpose. When everyone is racist, then no one is.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  198. Audrey


    Gates wasn't arrested for trying to get in his own office. He was arrested for his beligerant behavior to the cop. The officer acted entirely appropriately.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  199. Ram

    The president was very clear in his statement that he was not aware of all of the facts of the case and he also pointed that the fact that in general, blacks and latinos were disproportionately targeted could cause one to attribute racial motivations even in a situation where honest people could disagree about the actions taken. Given this context, it is easy to see how the "acted stupidly" comment really just suggests that the police should have anticipated how this would be received and refrained from the action (arrest) that they took even after they knew this person was in his own home.

    I do not think there is much to apologize for in this context though it could have been worded better.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  200. Carlos Manabat

    Not at all. That will only embolden the arrogance of the Cambridge police. The humiliation will be on the Office of the President of the United States and not on Mr. Obama.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  201. Amy DiMartine

    President Obama should apologize to police officers everywhere. Racial profiling is a slippery slope, and often times goes both ways. In this case, I truly believe the police officer was doing his job, as confirmed by other police at the scene. Obama was not there, and should not have commented on the issue until all the facts were in and investigated. He does not know what police officers have to deal with on a daily basis, and the risks they take with every single call that they get. Shame on him, and Gates, for turning this incident into something "racially motivated."

    July 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  202. JD

    He should say he spoke without knowing all the facts and apologize for what he said. He had no place commenting when he does not have the facts.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  203. Veronica

    Yes, I do believe President Obama should apologize to the Cambridge Police Department for what he said. Sgt Crowley was just doing his job and had nothing to do with racial profiling. I cannot believe that as soon as a situation comes up like this one everyone is so jumps to the racial issue, even our own President. What a disgrace. I feel that if it would have been any other race, you wouldn't have heard the President make a remark about the situation.

    Corpus Christi, TX

    July 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  204. Janet

    It isn't the elected leader of the free world to speak his mind, his job is to run this country and to keep racism out of it. The police officer was doing his job and if ANYONE gets mouthy with an officer, yes, he/she will be handcuffed regardless of their status within the community or regardless of their race.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  205. Tarah

    No! President Obama is right. It was stupid!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  206. Sheila

    Yes, the President and our Governor both owe this police officer and the Cambridge police department an apology. They both spoke out before they knew any of the facts of what had happened. We all should wait to see what the independent investgation has concluded before the media continues with this side show.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  207. lonnie

    No I don't think the Prez said anything wrong. It is STUPID to arrest someone in his own home after giving his ID to the police showing that he lived there. I'm sure Prof. Gates was enraged (I would be too) and got mouthy but I'm sure the police officer also got pissed off at the Prof. and wanted to show his authority by arresting him.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  208. Faviola

    Absolutely not!
    Regardless of Gates overreacting to the situation, I think the cops did act stupidly considering the man was in his, obvious home.
    If the cops can't apologize, why should they demand apology from Mr. Obama?

    July 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  209. michael armstrong sr.

    Gates and Crowley just need to kiss and make up.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  210. Sarah Levine

    No. That policeman's actions are manifested in all the US in all counties. Black profiling is a fact. Yes, that policeman taught classes to other police officers on racial profiling; that does not indicate or state that he is against racial profiling. Police use racial profiling to justify arrests and incarceration; and State Prosceutors and Judges use the same method for sentencing and incarceration. The US Department of Justice has confirmed all of the above with supporting research and statistics. But who cares, they are only blacks and poor people whose lives and families' lives are deprived. Blacks are considered an 'eye sore' to the majority (jim crow) white Amerians and therefore the "White' majority rule-making class use another method of slavery – Incarceration. Oftentimes, resulting in the death of the incident. I will be an attorney one day, and as God is my witness, I will prove the incident to be just that INCIDENT!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  211. Jeff

    Yes, he should apologze to all the Law Enforcement Officers that allow this country to operate in relative safety, be it socially or within busness sectors. "All" Americans have become so self-indulgent and feel that they must openly and at all times act on their perceived freedoms, especially as it pertains to their misunderstanding and misuse of "Freedom of Speech"; feeling that they can express themselves at all times, even when confronted by law enforcement personnel who are putting their lives on the line everyday. The President should have said that all citizens should follow the instructions of a Police Officer and then if something wrong were done by that officer, a complaint and legal action would be taken against the officer if merited. I find it interesting how so many in this country like to malign Law Enforcement officials but yet will cry even louder when they feel threatened or are in need of their assistance. We have become such a nation of hypocrites and the President only perpetuated this with his comments that all thugs and criminals will now embrace when challenged by a Police Officer.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  212. Sam

    When I first heard about the incident, from a statement from Gates' lawyer, it was obvious that the police were in the wrong. But then when I heard the other side, I conclude Gates was actually the wrong one; he overreacted. This shows a problem with our system in which a defense lawyer can make any kind of statement, regardless of the truth, while the authorities cannot explain their side.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  213. Bill

    Yes, the President should apologize for rushing to judgment without all of the facts. Otherwise it's going to be way to easy to look at this and say that he was judging the situation on race alone and isn't that what would have been so wrong of the police officer?

    Bill Syracuse, NY

    July 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  214. Ann O'Malley

    Yes, I think that President Obama should apologize because he admitted he didn't know all of the facts, and I think his statement came across as an indictment of police officers in general, and they already have a difficult and dangerous job to do.
    Arnold, MD

    July 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  215. Wilma from Georgia

    Obama didn't say anything that was not true, but it was a class act for him to call the officer to help defuse the situation. It was be just as classy for the officer to call the professor even if he (officer) believed he made the right move. People will think what they will, however, public officials should take the high road – they are paid to represent ALL of the taxpayers.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  216. Annabelle Reeve

    Of course not. Police departments have certain rules, but at some point in the arrest process common sense should kick in. No apologies.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  217. Keith Marx

    Of course he should apologize (and Gates too). Although not wanting to malign the President, I think he commented stupidly about the whole affair.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  218. David

    Absolutely!! He's already back-pedaling as fast as he can so he may as well show he's a stand-up guy and admit when he's made a mistake. Wasn't that one of the problems with the last guy in the White House. The whole situation is very telling about the President's demeanor and POV.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  219. Lance Smith

    I'm white for whatever that's worth – I think that Obama has already apologized for the poor choice of words. How many times did W Bush respond for babling like an idiot? How many times could he have? – I'll leave you to draw your own conclusion.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  220. Tanner Lemke

    I definitely feel that Obama should not apologize, the hype that this has brought up, is distracting everyone from the real issues, like the Health Care Reform, and how the Republicans are responding. However, I do believe that Obama should not have gotten involved, there are bigger problems at hand. Wake up America, you are fueling this fire.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  221. Karen

    .Absolutely he ows the officer a apology. He should not be making comments off the cuff. .He did not have the facts. It is our government who have redefined an officer job duties, so when our Commander in Chief does not support the officers how can you possibly expect the communities to respect the officers?? He was way out of line.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  222. Steve L

    Absolutely, he admitted to the American people on television that he did not have all of the facts of the situation. How then can he make such a determination out loud that the police acted stupidly.

    Just be man enough to apologize when you're speak out of turn.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  223. terry mccormick

    No. The police have no right to slap a pair of handcuffs on a law-abiding citiizen. We don't live in a police state (yet), although it is close.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  224. Ken

    He said he did NOT know the facts, then goes on to say "the police acted stupidly". Millions of people take what the president says as the gospel. The president needs to apologize for acting stupidly.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  225. Walter A.

    What kind of President do we have who would lower himself to this level; to jump in to something without having the facts. He has assumed that the white cop is exercising racial profiling against a man of high esteem who is black. We all know the professor would not lose his "cool" under any circumstance so it must be the cop who is at fault. I voted for Obama and the Democratic ticker too!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  226. Beverly San Jose, CA

    No, the President should not apologize, he should stand firmly by the statement he made because the arresting officer did indeed act "stupidly" by arresting a man in his own home, even after proof address! Last I checked, it wasnt against the law to talk back to Police. I think Sgt Crowley let his EGO get the best of the situation, so HE should be the one apologizing, not the President!

    July 24, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  227. stephen waldman

    An apology seems to be the appropriate thing to do here. It's not a hard thing to do, though many in public life, both left and right, media included, consider it an act of surrender . In the lives of everyday working Americans, an apology usually can go a long way towards healing and understanding. Same goes here.
    Steve, Buellton, Ca.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  228. Jayakumar

    I admire Obama very much and has been his ardent supporter so far. I have always observed him to be prudent in his comments, except on a few occassions when he tends to defend "father" figures like his priest during the election, and now Dr. Gates, whom he obviously knows and respects very much from his Harvard days. I wish as a president he would be more reserved in his comments especially on a law and order issue. He should retract his statements, but need not apologize. Mutual apologies are due from Dr. Gate for disrespecting a police officer (that much is obvious) and the police officer in question Mr. Crowley for entraping the professor by asking him to step outside his house and then arresting him, since he could not have done so inside the professor's house. And lastly please let us get back on health care and the economy now.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  229. Dan

    He is so used by now to sell everything, regardless of facts, so I guess he should not apologize (if he does, he may as well apologize for the stimulus not working, and for not telling us how will he finance the health care bill!)

    July 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  230. Neeshia

    No, I do not believe that he should apologize for stating that the officer acted 'stupidly' because he didn't have to escort the gentleman out of his own home in handcuffs for raising his voice if he did so, he could have chosen to leave the Professor's premises. These officer's think they are above the law at times and they truly dislike when someone voices their disapproval of their behavior. They have an issue with being challenged verbally. Also, it doesn't matter if they officer had taught racial profiling that doesn't mean that one is without prejudice. My main concern is that he escorted him off his own premises for voicing his opinion, the race issue is a seperate matter in my mind.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  231. Mitch

    President Obama should have never become involved in this. He says he is too busy to deal with issues like gay rights, but he has time to inject racial issues in a situation that didn't need have them and call the White Sox pitcher to talk about his 'perfect game'. Come on President Obama, start acting like you deserve to be a seated President of the United States.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  232. Paul Johnson

    Absolutely. The President is a lawyer and should know better than to comment without knowing he facts. first. Just because this gentlemen is a freind of his, doesn't the police being wrong . There was a report of a robbery in progress. the officer has the responsibility to check it out. Most certainly, Mr. Gates owes the police a apolgy since they were protecting him if there actually was a robbery in pogress.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  233. Larry

    Obama acted stupidly for putting himself in the middle of a local city issue and for making strong statements before he knew the facts. This whole thing would have blown over by now had he kept his mouth shut.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  234. Franceen Trusel

    Stupidly may not have been the best choice of words. But apologize, no. We should not be afraid to be angry at a policeperson. Actually, the policeperson should be trained how to react in an appropriate manner to an outraged person. Why are only the policeperson(s) correct. Why can't an ordinary citizen be correct and justifiable in their outrage.

    I had a very dear co-worker who was constantly afraid that her young son would be harassed by the police – only because he was black and they didn't leave in the best part town. He by the way was a straight A student who had never been in any trouble. Why should anybody be afraid of a department who is supposed to protect us.

    I continue to believe the situation of racial profiling is with us for a long time, especially with the make-up of the vast majority of police departments being so very, very white.

    Sun Lakes, AZ

    July 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  235. Cassie

    The President of the United States should refrain at all times but interfering with local issues. It is not his place. Now if the man involved in this case had been white, would he have injected himself into that situation?

    July 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  236. Darryl from Cambridge

    If you arrest the owner of a home inside of their home for burglary then you have acted stupidly. No apology necessary.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  237. Mike

    I don't think the President should apologize since the police officer clearly siad he would never apologize for this incident, I believe that the president made a poor choice of word and at the same time every black men in this country know that black in america mean suspect to white police officers. But I think that the professor has just been racially profiled but his neighbor rather than the officer.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  238. Brian

    I feel that Mr. Gates arrest should not have taken place. But he was warned to act civil or be arrested, and he continued to be ignorant. So shame on him for his actions. Was it racial – NO, after all it was Mr Gates who started the racial remarks and acted like a child, and he continued to do so after being warned to calm down. He was the one who was began racist remarks, not the police. Mr Gates should be thankful that he had neighbors who were looking after his property and reported a possible break-in. As for Mr Obama, he was no better than Mr Gates with his racial remarks. He should have never responded to the Gates arrest question. It was a local matter, not a Federal matter. Mr Obama acted very unprofessional as our leader, and he failed to act like a President. He bad mouthed every police officer in the nation. He insulted many white people as well. I for one am not happy with the current situation from our President. He acted is a bigotted and racial manner by his words and his comments on racial profiling of police officers. I was appauled by his actions. His racial profiling comment was not even close to being fair. I truely hopes this type of Presidential action is not the change he was preaching about over this past election. There is enough racism in this country and we sure as hell do not need our very own President being the front runner in provoking more racism on a nation level. And for that Mr Obama you need to go on national TV and apologize to the entire nation and to all of those police officers out there doing their job. Thank you

    July 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  239. Dea in Fayetteville NC

    yes I do think it was a mistake. If it turns out that the Professor was the one acting stupidly then President Obama will have harmed his own credibility by jumping to conclusions before the facts were in.

    If Professor Gates acted like he thought the officer was being racist, even if he wasn't, that makes Gates the racist. There is no such thing as reverse racism. It's ugly no matter which party is the one being prejudiced.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  240. Randy T

    Yes! Right after the cop apologizes to the professor for arresting him and then "dropping the charges".

    July 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  241. Frank Barnhart

    The key question, in my opinion, centers around Gates asking to see the officer's badge & ID. According to Gates, he asked three time before the officer complied. Strangely, I have seen no statements from the officer or the department disputing this nor agreeing with this, even though they say they stand by their actions. If this part of Gates' statement is correct, then the officer acted inappropriately. Once asked, the officer was legally obliged to comply without waiting to see Gates' ID first; unless his or someone else's personal safety was at risk, which was clearly not the case here.
    St. Louis, MO

    July 24, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  242. Chuck

    When the President of the United States takes the time to directly make a call to officer Sgt. James Crowley..................that says it all.

    Chuck, Glendale, California

    PS...........wouldn't that be something if THEY all had a beer together on the White House lawn.

    End of story.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  243. Stephen

    President Obama, admittedly, did not have the all the facts therefore he should not have demeaned the officer and linked the arrest to possible racial profiling. Why throw gasoline on the fire? Only now that he is in hot water is this a "teaching moment." Will President Obama teach us how to incite division among the races? He should simply apologize and admit a mistake if he wants to move forward.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  244. don, Dayton OH

    You're not going to get a solid answer out anyone because all of the republicans are going to agree that Obama acted out of line (doesn't he always to them?) and most democrats are going to agree that he was within reason.
    Isn't that the sign of the times? The total polarization of everyone in this country on opposite sides, rooting feverishly like they're at a football game?
    The cops WERE out of line. And that's also a sign of the times. They used to be in neighborhoods to 'serve and protect.' More often than not, they're not used to instill fear and paranoia in people. Read a newspaper...stories pop up everyday about police officers acting out of line. It's certainly not unheard of and not hard to believe that an officer attempting to arrest a person getting into his own home acted inappropriately.
    I'd do the same thing on MY property with MY home.
    Cops need to stop harassing people and start HELPING them. They work for US, not the other way around.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  245. Carla

    To publically comment on an issue "when you do not have all the facts" is in itself stupid. To be the President of the United States and comment without all the facts is naive. We are all commenting on this situation when we know the man is the owner of the home, we know his name and occupation. What if he had been a "bad guy"? and Officer Crowley let him off without producing identification. Why didn't Prof. Gates simpley show his ID, thank the officers (and his neighbor) for protecting his property and go back inside? Seems Professor Gates has an agenda to keep this alive and now he is "hinting" of a civil lawsuit. Heaven help us. Carla, Wilbur, WA (far enough West to not have to deal with this nonesense).

    July 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  246. Becia

    Being a fan of President Obama, I cannot say that I was impressed with his choice of words at that press conference. The one thing that stands out about President Obama is his cool, collected demeanor...at all times. He normally thinks before he speaks and no one gets the better of him. It was disappointing to hear him talk like that. He really should have had a more "politically correct" answer to that question. Remember, unite, not divide.....

    July 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  247. Charley

    He said what he said and I think while impolite was not unfair. Perhaps the cops will realize that people have a right to be angry and badmouth them in their own house. It was the policeman who overstepped his line of authority.

    No one needs to apologize both played out their roles

    July 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  248. Charlotte Wilkerson

    No, the police officer's experience as a racial profiling instructor should have prevailed. Once Professor Gates show his ID his training/experience should have prompted him to de-escalate Professor Gates' anxiety enough so that he could then explain why he was dispatched to his home. Then, if Gates didn't show deference the next legal step.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  249. SGM Charles E Adams

    If the police officer was so aware of racial profiling why did he not let his BLACK officer assist him in diffusing the issue. And the black officer that
    said everything was done correct, to police standards, why did he not step in then instead now on TV.
    SGM Charles E Adams
    Austin Tx

    July 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  250. Lori in St Pete

    Dea, you gave two scenarios placing the onus of the bad behavior on the professor. What if it turns out the cop was acting stupidly? Considering we read about cops behaving badly on an almost daily basis, it's not that much of a stretch to reach that conclusion.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  251. Steven

    Why should this President apologize for commenting on a subject without having the facts? Bush didn’t.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  252. Kamoru JImoh

    No; he should not. If President Obama was white and made the same comment, would there be calls for him to apologize. Racism and prejudice conitinue to be swept under the rug. Stupid acts and being stupid are two different things. It's not far fetch that both the police offficer and proffessor Gates acted stupidly. Here is the question – Where is the lady that called the police on her neighbor? Is she white? Shouldn't she of all people have recognized that was Dr. Gates? Incident happened during daylight, right?

    July 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  253. Joe

    Honest mistake: Assuming a man broke into his own house based on a 911 call. Stupid: Hauling the guy to jail anyway for a different charge. Stupider: The notion that our first African American president must apologize for his frank appraisal of the situation.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  254. Aldo T Angelo

    The president was wise and right in making his comment regarding Mr. Gates' arrest. Arresting a man in his own home for doing nothing more than giving the officer some lip is not justified. The President opened this debate and it is one that is certainly needed. Many people still don't understand the disadvantage that black men face when dealing with the police. The police officer, though he may not be a racist, is sorely lacking in good judgement. He needs more training.

    Aldo T Angelo

    July 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  255. John Harbert

    No. He should not apologize and neither should the Policeman. Everyone's entitled to an opinion. Professor Gates is the one who should apologize for his uncalled for actions.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  256. Sandra

    The policeman in question, with 11 years on the job, should have exercised much better judgment - he did indeed "act stupidly," although Professor Gates didn't exactly cover himself with glory either. Both acted on inappropriate assumptions and created the problem. President Obama is a human being who responded honestly, but also inappropriately. He has already apologized (sort of). Let's drop it!

    Sandra in Colorado

    July 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  257. George

    I served 24 years in the Army and a retiered veteran. I was stoped for no reason in Fayetteville, NC. I was harassed and accused of crimes I did not commit. After being told that I was who I said I was. He demanded the check be ran again. No apology was given, no ticket, nothing. And, no President Obama should not apologize. White Americians still do not see blacks as equal Americians. And, we are still giving our lives for this country. This is a very sad state of affairs for this country.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  258. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    No. Pres. Obama was asked what he thought about it and he gave his opinion. What's the big deal?

    July 24, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  259. Linda

    No the President should not apologize. How many times have you locked yourself out and tried to get into your own home. It has happened to all of us. You would think that the neighbors would know their next door neighbor and you would think your neighbors would offer to help you. You would also think that the police would ask for your drivers license. Especially if the owner said that this was his home and you would think the police would offer to help out. In this case the police acted wrongly.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  260. Joe

    Yes he should apologize. He is the POTUS and leader of the free world and he should act like it. It was extremely unprofessional to make comments on something he did not know the facts on. He must lead by example. The POTUS must realize statements have consequences and I believe his statements not only elevated the situation but could also put police officers lifes in danger

    July 24, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  261. bill

    In my opinion it was the responseability of the officers to diffuse the situation because the officer has the power to arrest an individaul with the use of force and coaxed him out of the house in order to arrest him. The officer let his ego get in the way.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  262. Phyllis G Williams

    The President should only apologise for not hearing the two sides of the situation before he spoke, as understanding it as he heard, what he said
    was the truth and my father would have said worse than that if he was alive (smile)

    July 24, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  263. Nan

    No, I don't think that Pres. Obama should apologize for saying that the police acted stupidly – they did act stupidly, especially in light of the fact that this police officer taught a course to help others become racially sensitive. He should have known better than to let his ego become engaged – he was the person with the power in this situation – he should have used discretion and respect to diffuse the situation and then Prof. Gates could have thanked him for his diligence in protecting his home, and they could have had a beer together without all the rest of us needing to hear about everyone's poor judgement for a week!

    July 24, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  264. renita best

    The president does not need to aplogize for expressing his opinion about the matter from the perspective of an Afirican American. We are who we are and the environment around us has shaped to be who we are. Had the man in question been a white professore, would the police officer have responded differently is a legitimate question. We don't know. The police officer himself does not know how he would have responded. I applaud that he has taught classes on race relations...bravo!
    Now that the conversation has begun we can continue to explore why this conversation has even emerged.
    The president should not, must not apologize for speaking as a man. No other president has been required to speak for something other than what he was, a concerned AMERICAN.
    When there is injustice anywhere...there is injustice everywhere..
    Thank you Mr. President, for being willing to be a concerned American. Had the man been white how would the police officer have reacted.? Had Prof. Gates been white confronting a white police office how would the situation have evolved.?
    Something to think about.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  265. Barry Meyers(Tenafly, NJ)

    President Obama got invlolved in a situation that is simply of infinitely low importance compared with the incredibly important "projects" on his seemingly endless list.

    In addition, he shot from the hip in a completely un-Presidential manner. Right or wrong, the facts were not totaly known to him and now he must back-peddle to neutralize his untoward comment!

    Preisent Obama is becoming "shop worn"...too much visiblity at the wrong time for the wrong reasons!

    July 24, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  266. Pat

    President Obama not only should apologize but needs to do so now. An apology yesterday is too late already. If he were in the campaign mode he would never had made a comment. He spoke before he knew both sides of the story. If it was an African American police officer and a white Professor, it would not even make the news. Where is Al Sharpton on this one? Perhaps even Sharpton knew it wasn't a race card why didn't our President see that? Yes, he needs to apologize not only to the officer but too the American public for taking sides and judging/convicting the police without justification.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  267. Ronald E. Kemp

    No President Obama should not apologize. President Obama was correct when he said once Dr. Gates identified himself the police should have left. All President Obama accused the police of is bad judgment. Secondly this was not a local matter. It did not take President Obama's commenting to make this a national matter. The disparate treatment black and brown males have received from police and the justice system has always been a national matter. It’s just that in this case the black individual involved was a nationally recognized person.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  268. William

    Sorry, but what that police officer in Cambridge did was stupid. He acted irrationally and he had no right to arrest Dr. Gates. The police in many jurisdictions are completely out of control and power-mongers. Standing up to them, even when you are right and they are wrong, means an instant arrest (or worse). This is especially true if your skin is darker than a hamburger bun. The president called it as he saw it and he had his facts straight. He should never have to apologize for telling the truth, even if that truth hurts someone's feelings. Grow up already, America!

    July 24, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  269. Larry King's Biggest Fan

    The police were following protocol. The professor and Obama made it a race issue. The professor acted disorderly and his further comments about why would a timid 150 lb professor mess with a Big white guy are racist.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  270. Frank Galey

    This is not racial profiling. This is stupidity by the police, academia, and the president of the United States. There is no excuse for anyone to have allowed it to escalate. Stupidity is what we humans do so well.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  271. bob

    Armed with zero facts the President went forth once more into the breach. He admitted he was unaware of the facts but went on to blame racist white people. Police ofiicers are to be respected even by African American Professors with PHDs and Presidents of the USA. Obama owes ALL Police officers an apology for speaking out of turn.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  272. Nadeem

    A police officer should be smart enough to handle such situations and should provide help and support rather than arresting people in their homes. I am really surprised by people asking President for apology.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  273. Joanne

    If President Obama aologizes, yes it shows that he is like all of us. But it does show weakness in the eyes of other nations. The truth is that President Obama, has put the notion (which in many place are true) of racial profiling aside. Americans, need to focus on their image. Its already tainted with lies and greed. It appears it is getting worse. The media needs to stop focusing on tearing our president down and critiquing every word that he says. Yes, its your job but there is more damage than good being done. Focus on the world affairs, and news, okay! Real news that the public needs to know. You cannot taint a persons character when they represent you. It looks bad!

    July 24, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  274. Aaron

    When the police apologize to the millions of people, Black Brown and White, for over aggressive or over zealous behavior that was only supported by the fact that the law protects them. Not all police officers let the power of their position overshadow their purpose. Forget the money, the stature and even Gates' race. A man was arrested for expressing his discontent for a police officer's behavior towards him in his own home. He was a Black Man who has never experienced this, so sue him for thinking it was racially tinged to be arrested in his own home!
    TO SERVE AND PROTECT, any actions beyond that are STUPID!

    July 24, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  275. Sharon J. White

    I want to thank you Jack for reading the last email that you read on this as the final word should have been in my opinion that the arrest should not have occurred... PERIOD...

    I have not heard any valid reason for the professor to have been arrested and it is not just scary for a black person but for any person (I am a 55 year old white woman) who may question a police officer's motivations...

    I have heard some say that the professor was being protected by the police officer by arresting him because if the police are not being given the respect they expect then they cannot protect us... I hope I did not hear this correctly as I have never heard of a law that says you can be arrested because you don't provide the police respect...

    I am very personally very upset by this and I am not a black person and I do not take the police officer's side... Of course their own investigation would take up for the P.O.

    As far as the President's comment – I agree with him... The professor was not arrested for any valid reason and that should not have happened. I myself would call it stupid and yes I am very angry about it and wish that there was a stronger voice being heard with my viewpoint.

    Just because the P.O. has/had a good record does not mean that he is above everyone else and does not make mistakes... He should not be given carte blanche (? spelling) to arrest someone because they are "acting irrationally" in their own home... I have not heard any information that demonstrates that the professor did anything but yell at the P.O. after a difficult encounter...

    July 24, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  276. Monte C.

    We have to look at one important thing here. Obama commented on Gates getting arrested after proving he lived there. He said he thought cooler heads should have prevailed. He did NOT comment on the racial profiling part of the incident. But of course everyone will take what he said and blend it all together. Somebody on here said this proves Obama is a black president. Are you crazy! Well according to that George Bush must have been a "white" president then?

    July 24, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  277. Georgie, Ohio

    Absolutely, Obama Should Apoligize. Let's face it the President Of The United States made a judgement without all the facts. Very Stupid thing to do. No Superior Judgement Here !

    July 24, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  278. Ken Dodd

    Dear Jack:

    The President should admit he was premature to comment on the case. I have seen nothing to indicate the officer did anything improper, although he could have just said "have a nice day" after checking Dr. Gates credentials. On the other hand, it seems with all the belicosity of Dr. Gates that he has a mighty chip on his shoulder, which the media doesn't seem to want to recognize. It's a sad comment on today's race relations.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  279. William Thurston

    I sincerely believe that Mr. President should have commented on something that sensitive because it shows me that he has guts andleadership.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  280. Bert. L.A, CA

    Yes, he should apologize to America in general and to all police because a president, or even a “community organizer,” who is trying to unite people at a primetime news conference, focused on a national policy concerning the health of every American, should not allow himself to be led off topi just so he can add his two-cents on a divisive local matter he admits to not have all the facts about. This makes me angry enouh to remove my "O(bama, 08" bumper sticker from my truck!

    July 24, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  281. Demeka

    The president should not apolgize because as Chief Commanding Officer, he has the right to reprimand the inappropriate actions of his subordinates – even if he does it crudely and candidly. If the officer were being reprimanded by one of his immediate superiors, he would not demand an apology. Anyone who has ever worked for someone else understands that one often does not like or agree with every statement a superior makes, but one surely doesn't "demand" anything from the superior either. Why should the officer and the department receive an apology when they refuse to offer one to Gates? Do they believe they are owed greater deference than Gates deserved from them? The only apology that President Obama should make is to the American people for not facilitating frank discussions about abuse of power, racial profiling, and other discriminatory issues that affect minorities and women everyday.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  282. Brandon

    There's no reason for Obama to apologize. I'm not an Obama fan – I didn't vote for him – but I appreciate him for calling out the complete lack of common sense in this country. When you do everything by-the-book without stopping to consider what's common sense, it shouldn't require a president to tell you that you "acted stupidly".

    July 24, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  283. John New york NY

    I'm a black man and I don't agreed with the President words, but if I get stuck out of my car or my house I think I will called 911 first before I break in my house or car.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:08 pm |

    This whole thing is a matter of inflated egos on both sides of the fence. I think the President should have called the whole situation stupid. And invited them for a beer right then and there.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  285. Amy Gardner

    Voted for Barack and think he has been doing a great job. But, wow, he hurt himself on this one. Obama is the one who overreacted. He should have kept a cooler head until all the facts were known. I trust him less now. He needed to apologize days ago. It is worrisome that he is still not getting this.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  286. Derek from Toronto, Ontario

    Yes he should apolize to the police, they simply responded to a call and were very vigilance ( his advisors must be pulling there hair out for his comments). Obama worry about your economy because yes it even effects us here up North .... dog sled and maple sirrop sales are down.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  287. Da Kine

    A nice opportunity for magnanimity on both sides was pettily wasted....and the President didn't exactly distinguish himself on that one either. But let's get on with life, folks. There will be plenty more opportunities to get it right.
    As shown in South Africa: We don't have to like each other, but we will have to coexist on some level.
    Cheers, and good luck to all.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  288. Mac

    No, In his own home after presenting ID this was BAD discretionary by the policeman.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  289. Denise, Winston Salem, NC

    No, the President should not apologize. I am disappointed that the President is being so wishy-washy as he usually is trying to please all people to appear as if he is not standing up for minority folk. I am telling him that he will start losing our support soon because this is just wrong. Even if Dr. Gates was being belligerent, the last time I checked that was not a crime, especially in your own home. Police officers' use demeanor to arrest and use force against citizens all the time–police officers listen, being a jerk is not a crime. This is about citizens' preference for police action and if a citizen wants you off his property , goodbye because you already validated that he is the one paying the bills. It is a shame when such a distinquished man is draggged in handcuffs and locked up like a common criminal, this has everything to do with that officer's ego–absolutely nothing to do with the law. The President should never have called that officer, why? What is the purpose? This President just sees votes, he is losing alot of people's respect for always apologizing if Whites are upset.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  290. Margaret

    How many white 68-year-olds would have been arrested in their own home just for giving some lip to the investigating officer? The Cambridge Police Department needs some training in how to keep their emotions under control so they can defuse situations rather than escalate them.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  291. Dave Sinton

    No, the president should not apologize for the remarks he made. We know the media is erupting this story to another level but the truth is police do handle citizens with excessive power and authority. I'm a white American and do feel the officer went two steps further. These unmerited behaviors from officers towards black people need to STOP. I was ones driving a car with my black friend, we were pulled over and questioned. When my friend intervened, the officer aggressively changed his moods and shifted the focus on him. Soon he arrested him as i watched and falsely manipulated the police reports with lies.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  292. Debbie

    No he should not. The officer did act stupidly. Pro. Gates showed him ID - How many robbers do that? Also, the officer could have looked around the house at the photos on the wall for further proof that Prof. Gates lived there. The officer did act stupidly and no appology is necessary from Obama or Gates, but is necessary from the officer to Gates.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  293. Tracy

    Yes, I think he should apologize. He spoke without knowing all of the facts. Which as an African-American man himself, he knows that many times anything involving us will have a convoluted back story. I think he should have checked it all out before commenting publicly.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  294. L. Primell

    I think this is bigger than a simple apology. I Feel For President Obama because he is damned if he do or if he don't. Then when he takes the middle ground he is called a wimp. I just wonder why every thing he does or says is put to such deep scrutiny.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  295. Kellie, PA

    If the same situation happened in my father's home I would have described the actions of the police "stupid". Additionally, why was Gates told to be quiet in his own home. It was the man's home for goodness sakes and the police officer wanted to transfer the rules of the street to this man's residence. The police officer's behavior was out of order and egotistical.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  296. Gary in Opelousas, La

    Absolutely not! The President owes no apology for offering his opinion on the facts as HE perceived them. If the whole of the incident happened as he thought they did, then I would agree also—a stupid way to respond to the incident.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  297. Nellie

    i am not of the opinion that Pres. Obama apologize... if he sees it necessary to apologize, he should do so to the affected party and not on television. However, since when is it so horrible to be honest? I do think the cop ACTED STUPIDLY especially since he KNEW the identity of Prof. Gates BEFORE he made the arrest. Can the people who think the president need apologize PLEASE explain how they think this wasn't a "Stupid act!"

    July 24, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  298. Bert from California

    No, President Obama should not apologize. Why was Mr. Gates arrested anyways? Because the police officer got his feelings hurt? Because Mr. Gates gave the police officer a piece of his mind? Neither is illegal. The police officer abused his authority by arresting Mr. Gates. My own personal experience has shown that what is written in a police report is not always true. A police officer will write what he thinks he should write in a police report regardless of the truth.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  299. Ray Shelton

    Of course he should apologize. His response to the reporter should have been "no comment"! The question was completely off the topic of health care reform, the subject of his press conference. (That was no stellar performance either.) He did not have all of the facts. He is displaying a tendancy to shoot from the hip which does not instill confidence in his judgment. He owes the nation thoughtful, reasoned comments when he knows all the facts on issues of national importance. This was a local issue until he chose to give it presidential stature.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  300. Fred

    He should not have said anything. I felt at the time I heard him it would come to this point where it would be against him. Certain things he has said and done may hurt his re-election.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  301. Sharon Spencer Smith

    I am amazed that so many people are commenting thay the President did not have all the facts before he spoke. The facts were clearly there. The professor was in his own home. It should take about five minutes to verify this information... unless you are acting stupidly.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  302. Mark Cushing

    Other than what I have read, I don’t know all the facts of the case. It seems that there are two sides to this story and that neither individual is willing to back down from their respective positions. I just finished reading the police report. Based on that report, it seems that there are several witnesses that could step forward and offer an impartial narrative of the events. I do think that Obama should apologize for sticking his nose into a situation where he admittedly says he didn’t know all the facts. Since he didn’t know all the facts he should have answered the original question by saying such and following it with “so I cannot comment on it”. Instead, it appears that he allowed his friendship with Professor Gates to color his judgment (no pun intended) and jumped to the conclusion that the arresting officer was a racist. In Obama’s press conference earlier today, he mentions that this should be a “teachable moment” about the current state of race relations in our country. I agree with him – there are still many racial problems in this great country of ours. However, I think that Obama needs to understand that this is also a “teachable moment” for him personally – that he should not comment on events where he is not fully informed of all the facts. He, and Professor Gates, may have permanently tarnished the image of what appears to be a fine, and more importantly non-racist, police officer.

    Mark from Miami, Florida

    July 24, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  303. bruce slc utah

    yes..it was a "stupit thing to say". the dems are in dissarray. the gop's looking bad... it's more than evident that we need to get rid of the two party system

    July 24, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  304. Will Isnady

    Accusing the officer of Racism is not disorderly conduct. After identifying professor Gates, The Police officer should have left.

    The President is right. It was stupid for the Officer to arrest Professor gates. The professor was not disruptive to the Public . He could yield loudly inside his house.

    The Officer was wrong.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  305. justbeinghonest

    Mr. Gates makes the argument that he was profiled and subsequently arrested for simply being black. He goes on to argue that had he been white none of this would have ever happened. I would go a step further and argue had Mr. Gates been white, nobody would have called the police in the first place.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  306. Briana V.

    No, but that cop ought to be fired. Gates was arrested because that cop didn't like someone standing up to him. It was a clear abuse of power and when he asked Gates to step outside that was nothing but a rather obvious attempt (and success) at entrapment. Police in this country need to remember that they work for us and stop trying to bully us around with the authority we give them.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  307. Trent

    Absolutely the President should apologize. His was a gut reaction to what appeared to be a disgusting abuse of power. An apology shows that he is man enough to admit his mistakes and make right by those he erred against.
    Interestingly enough, this wouldn't be an issue if the media wasn't so quick to stir a dormant hornets' nest (the racial issue) by publicizing this arrest before all the facts were available.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  308. Dallas

    Everyone remember an important fact here. He was arrested for making a scene outside. Hurt feelings aside, he wouldn't shut up!! He should have gone back inside and left the officer alone. But he had a captive audience and kept making a scene. THATS why he was arrested. Some of you are as ignorant as the president on rushing to judgement that a racist cop couldn't wait to arrest a black man. Its no different if a cop asks you for identification. Provide it, shut up and let them do their job and leave.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  309. Matt

    I'm just glad to know the GOP controls whether the "news" media talks about more pressing substantive issues and the substance of what Obama has said he wants to do to address them during a press conference. I see no reason we should ignore this kind of silliness and focus on what's important instead. After all, the point of our government is to help the media make money on advertising by stirring up inane so-called "controversy," not protecting and promoting our general health and welfare.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  310. Duane

    When I heard Pres. Obama's comments I cringed and said "Yikes". As careful and guarded as he is with his remarks on every other issue, this was uncharacteristic of him. More meaningful than an apology, let the nation and world see him bring the parties together and review the facts and come to some resolution.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  311. Arlene

    I think he should. I voted for him and am an Obama supporter but I did not agree with his remarks, and thought it was a big mistake to say the police acted "stupidly" when he himself confessed he didn't have all the facts. After all, Professor Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct, not for breaking into his own home. I had to call the police once because someone broke into my home and the first thing they asked me was to get out of the house just to make sure the house was clear. I didn't start screaming "Why, because I'm a Hispanic woman?!" Actually, I was grateful, and the professor should have been also.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  312. Terreil (Atlant GA)

    No< I do not think that the president should offer an apology. If this officer feels that he does not owe this man an apology once he knew that this was his home regardless of how he responded and proceded to arrest him, I'm beside myself. I am a black man and beleive I personal know what it feels like to be on that side of the fence. I spent a night in jail for something someone accused me of being awaken from my sleep at 2 in the morning my place was serched and nothing, nothing what so ever found. never been in trouble with the law my entire life, was let out on my own words and the charges dismissed. But if I had lost my job due to this who would have been there for me, no one. when will this crazy mess stop.

    If the president owes an apology then so does this officers.

    I see as a citizen how officers stick together and sometimes that is understandable, but sometimes citizens need there voices heard as well.

    Thank You very much President Obama for making a stand for the little people. I would have yelled and screamed as well if I was in my home and was being arrested for nothing


    July 24, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  313. Ryan from Miami

    Obama should not apologize. This shows not just racism, but how cops are power hungry bullies. You cannot even say a thing to a cop without them threatening you with arrest.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  314. Bonnie in Texas

    Jack, we put kids in time out for using the word stupid. Come on, shouldn't the smartest man in the world have a bigger vocabulary and couldn't he find a better word? Personally, I think the police officer followed procedure and should be commended for doing so in the face of an obviously bigoted homeowner. I'm Caucasian American and would never consider being disrespectful to a police officer of any race. It is NEVER called for and can only exacerbate any already tense situation. I don't think Gates has a chip on his shoulder – more like a redwood! As for the president, well, maybe he isn't the smartest man in the world.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  315. Wayne in Normal Heights

    Yes Mr. Obamma should appologize. He had no business getting involved!
    Dr. Gates acted inappropriatly with a police officer, the officer did what his procedures said to do.
    Why is this so hard for Dr. Gates and Mr. Obamma to understand???

    July 24, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  316. Sandy

    Not all all should President Obama apologize said it was many people think when these things happen. For example, in another incident when the NFL player was denied seeing his mother-in-law while she was dying in the hospital. He was detained by an officer who would have rather make his point instead of allowing him precious moments he will never again have. I said "That is so stupid. What an idiot."

    July 24, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  317. Rosalie Shoafstall Az

    I'm so tired of hearing about the whole thing, over and over, and over again. The police should not go to a call for a black unless its a black policeman, they' re carring this thing too far. We should be more concerned about the important issues of our country which is in bad shape and Clinton giving away more billions, what a waste. Has everyone lost their minds??? I'm glad I'm the age I am, wouldn't want to hang around this old world too much longer. Glad I lived when I did before they decided to give our country away. Rosalie Shoafstall

    July 24, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  318. Kimberly

    No he should not. People who choose to assume the officer must be the one telling the truth are absurd. No matter what transpired we all (who were not there) know this: the facts are that the police arrested an American citizen for being in his own home. It was clearly retaliatory because Gates lived in a community where the officer never will. If a white person were arrested in their own home and handcuffed you would all be crying "The big government is abusing our constitutional rights! " Rush Limbagh would be on 24 hours straight, the tea-baggers would be picketting and the birthers would be conducting sit-ins while they had a pledge of allegiance marathon. Pathetic. If you any believes that police don't regularly lie on police reports to make themselves look good and the suspect look guilty they are a moron. The truth about abuses in law enforcement is long overdue for exposure. You want to keep doing these "Black in America" shows. This is being black in America.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  319. nick - Teacher from OK

    And collectively, lets stop getting our feelings hurt every time someone utters a comment we don't agree with - as a nation we're becoming a crowd of sentimentalists that are daily 'outraged' and 'offended.' Give me a break.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  320. carolyn

    I want to concur that not everything written in a police report is the gospel truth. Officers tend to make themselves look "better". By the way, I have never been arrested, but again, the local case of an upstanding father had some of these elements.

    And Bonnie, I would bet my life the president is smarter than you.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  321. MARIE

    Can we get back to Healthcare reform???? some people will do anything to distract the President from this crutial bill , that affects some 50 million people without health insurance including myself. He addressed the issue with both parties invited them to the White House for a beer.......so lets move back to Healthcare Reform....PLEASE!

    July 24, 2009 at 6:57 pm |