Obama Dials Back Gatesgate, Apologizes (Sort Of!)


President Obama has always enjoyed turning controversies into “teachable moments,” and today he took the opportunity to do just that with the spiraling scandal hilariously known as Gatesgate. Making a surprise appearance at this afternoon’s press briefing, Obama divulged that he had called Sgt. James Crowley and offered to sit down with him and Henry Louis Gates Jr. for a beer. Although it’s unclear whether Obama explicitly apologized to Crowley, he did relay to the White House press corps the regret he expressed over his remark on Wednesday. “Because this has been ratcheting up,” Obama said, “and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up, I want to make clear that in my choice of words, I think I unfortunately gave the impression that I was maligning the Cambridge police department, or Sgt. Crowley specifically, and I could have calibrated those words differently.” Obama also placed some blame on Professor Gates for the first time: “I continue to believe, based on what I’ve heard, that there was an overreaction in pulling Professor Gates out of his home to the station. I also continue to believe, based on what I’ve heard, that Professor Gates probably overreacted as well.” Watch the whole thing for some classic Obama bridge-building.