Cop, Prof to Meet Thursday

Prez spokesman: Why do you hate Bud?

By Mike Allen
|  Tuesday, Jul 28, 2009  |  Updated 6:25 AM EDT
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President Obama said he believes both Crowley and Gates overreacted during the situation. And he hopes to defuse the tension with a cold one.

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Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the police officer who arrested him will meet with President Barack Obama at the White House at 6 p.m. Thursday, a senior administration official said.

The White House was anxious to resolve the issue so it would quit dominating the news. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told “Fox News Sunday” that officials hoped to “get that done in the next several days.”

The charge of disorderly conduct was dropped by the Cambridge, Mass., police amid a national debate over the propriety of the arrest. Obama said at his news conference last week that the policy had acted “stupidly,” although he later said he “could have calibrated those words differently.”

Obama said during his later comments on the matter that at the end of a telephone conversation he had with the officer, Sgt. Jim Crowley, “there was a discussion about he and I and Professor Gates having a beer here in the White House.”

The timing of the meeting was first reported by Jake Tapper of ABC News.

The planned reunion was the subject of light-hearted banter at Gibbs’ briefing on Monday:

Q: Okay. And another subject, Officer Crowley is drinking Blue Moon, we hear Professor Gates is drinking Red Stripe or Becks -- what's the President drinking?

MR. GIBBS: The President had a Budweiser at the All-Star Game, so -- why are you looking at me like that? That's what he drank.

Q: We're talking Blue Moon, Red Stripe, Becks --

MR. GIBBS: What's wrong with Budweiser? Why do you hate Budweiser? (Laughter.)

Q: Well, he could get --

MR. GIBBS: Why do you hate Budweiser, Wendell? (Laughter.) Wendell, how about this -- how about you and I, we'll go pick out the beer, we'll do the beer run. Uh-oh, hold, please. (Laughter.)

Q: I'm happy to do that.

MR. GIBBS: The mortgage services meeting is tomorrow. Apparently this has nothing to do -- (laughter) -- unclear whether beer will be served at that meeting and what it will be. (Laughter.) So we'll go on the beer run together and pick it up in anticipation of the meeting.

Q: Pretzel or chips?

MR. GIBBS: Say again?

Q: Pretzel or chips?

MR. GIBBS: We're just going to go straight beer. No sense in diluting it.


Q: Shifting gears to Afghanistan.

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