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-Kathy Campbell and Carolyn French
Obama surprised by controversy over stupid remark
President Obama is a smart man, but on Wednesday night he made a “stupid” comment and now it’s coming back to bite him in the ass. The commander in chief said the Massachusetts police who arrested a black Harvard professor on his doorstep had “acted stupidly” and now his remark has set off a firestorm of controversy across the country, with police officers leading the charge.
“I have to say I am surprised by the controversy surrounding my statement,” Obama said in an interview with ABC News yesterday, “because I think it was a pretty straightforward comment that you probably don’t need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who’s in his own home.”
In the incident he was referring to, a woman in Cambridge reported seeing a possible burglary on July 16 when Henry Louis Gates Jr. and a friend were seen trying to force open his front door, which was jammed. When police arrived, Gates was inside and showed his ID, but he didn’t obey an officer’s order to step outside, and after a verbal altercation, he was arrested for disorderly conduct.
Yesterday, Obama didn’t take back his statement, but said he had “extraordinary respect for the difficulties of the job that police officer do.”
But that’s not enough to calm the men in blue. “The president’s alienated public safety officers across the country with his comments,” said David Holway, president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, which represents 15,000 public safety officials around the country.
Stephen Killon of the Cambridge Police Patrol Officer’s Association went even further calling the president’s comments “disgraceful.” “That was totally inappropriate. I am disgraced that he is our commander-in-chief,” he said. (Fox News)
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