Obama: ‘If I Had a Son, He’d Look Like Trayvon’

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President Barack Obama stands with Jim Yong Kim, his nominee to be the next World Bank President, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 23, 2012. Kim is currently the president of Dartmouth College. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Photo: Charles Dharapak/AP

After mounting pressure from black leaders to speak out about the Trayvon Martin killing, President Obama talked to reporters about the case during a press conference where he announced Jim Yong Kim's nomination for World Bank President. He spoke about the shooting from the perspective of a parent.

"When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids ... I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen ... My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin: If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon. And I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are gonna take this with the seriousness it deserves and that we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”

On Tuesday, just before back-to-back rallies in New York City and Sanford, Florida, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that Obama wouldn't comment on the case:

"We here in the White House are aware of the incident, and we understand that the local FBI office has been in contact with the local authorities and is monitoring the situation. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Trayvon Martin’s family but obviously, we’re not going to wade into a local law-enforcement matter.”

Politico reports that Obama has been pressed by black leaders to lend his voice to the national discussion about the Martin killing. Yvette Carnell, a former Hill staffer and blogger for Your Black World, referenced Obama's personal phone call to Sandra Fluke when she spoke about the Martin case:

“If what you want is to broker understanding, then Obama’s your guy. But if it’s an advocate you desire, then look elsewhere. Obama is perfectly willing to give a sermon to black men on Father’s Day about what they need to be doing, but totally incapable of advocating for a black boy who was murdered in the street while carrying only Skittles and iced tea."