Conor Friedersdorf argues that Obama picked the wrong battle in Gates:
[S]ix months into his tenure, President Obama offered his most prominent statement on race and criminal justice on behalf of a wealthy Ivy League buddy. Were that all, the president might have avoided burnishing his reputation for elitism. Last week, I defended him against that charge, noting that he was asked about the Gates incident. Notably "stupid" is his deliberately prolonging the controversybeyond even a second press conferencefor a round of beers and several more news cycles.
There are literally hundreds of cases where innocent, disproportionally black prisoners would benefit from a presidential mention, never mind two press conferences and a happy hour.