President Obama's comments on Henry Louis Gates, Jr. last night have sparked some ambivalence and ambiguity. It became the secondary, and, in some cases, the primary headline from last night's event, which was thoroughly about healthcare until those last two minutes, when Lynn Sweet asked Obama what he thought of Gates, the revered Harvard scholar and race relations expert, getting arrested by Cambridge, Massachusetts police for disorderly conduct while trying to jimmy his way into his own house, having forgotten his key.
The Cambridge police "acted stupidly in arresting someone when there was already proof that they were in their own home," Obama said, which became the front page headline on today's Boston Globe. He also joked that he'd "get shot" if he were caught in the same situation at the White House.
Here at the Politics channel, Marc suggested Obama may have to walk back the "stupidly" comment, given that cops might not understand its application to the Cambridge Police Dept. en masse.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) was less ambivalent about the comment this afternoon, when it used the comment to hit Democratic congressmen from Massachusetts, confronting them with the remark as an affront to law enforcement officials on Obama's part.