An apology it wasn't. After igniting a firestorm of criticism for racially profiling a white cop during Wednesday night's nationally televised press conference on "healthcare," President Barack Obama stammered his way through a statement on Friday afternoon:
"Because this has been ratcheting up and I helped contribute to ratcheting it up, I want to make clear that in my choice of words I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sgt. Crowley specifically and I could have calibrated those words differently."
Obama's statement Friday followed closely after several Cambridge area police unions held a press conference criticizing Obama and demanding his apology: Whatever may be the history, we deeply resent the implications and reject any suggestion that in this case or any other case that they've allowed a person's race to direct their activities. However we hope they will reflect upon their past comments and apologize to the men and women of the Cambridge Police Department," [Dennis] 'Connor said.
Whatever he said in his phone call to Sgt. James Crowley, Obama didn't admit to the rest of us that he apologized for his ignorant, drive-by assault. He didn't say that he was "sorry" for "maligning" Crowley before the entire world for acting "stupidly" and for characterizing him as a racial profiler. He distanced himself from any concept of personal responsibility or regret, instead regretting how things turned out: "to the extent that my choice of words didn't illuminate, but rather contributed to more media frenzy, I think that was unfortunate."
Even worse, Obama took the opportunity to fire off a smaller caliber insult at Crowley and his fellow cops. After calling Crowley an "outstanding police officer and a good man, Obama again distorted the facts and criticized Crowley's arrest of Gates. Obama said: "I continue to believe, based on what I have heard, that there was an overreaction in pulling Professor Gates out of his home to the station."
First of all, Gates wasn't pulled out of his home. Police reports state that Gates came out of the house after Crowley exited. Gates hasn't disputed any of the allegations in the reports.
Secondly, why is the presidential constitutional scholar relying on hearsay against an "outstanding police officer" after calling hearsay "unreliable" when it's used against suspected terrorists?
Just two months ago, using the U.S. Constitution as a prop, Obama made a speech about the due process rights of suspected terrorists under his administration: "We will no longer place the burden to prove that hearsay is unreliable on the opponent of the hearsay."
Why isn't Sgt. Crowley entitled to as much "due process" by Obama as Osama?
Call it damage control, taking the heat off, but not even the White House is calling Obama's statement an apology. Beltway pundits have a new word for it: "walk it back," away from the do-do, so to speak. Obama wants us to learn something:
My hope is, is that as a consequence of this event this ends up being what's called a "teachable moment," where all of us instead of pumping up the volume spend a little more time listening to each other and try to focus on how we can generally improve relations between police officers and minority communities, and that instead of flinging accusations we can all be a little more reflective in terms of what we can do to contribute to more unity.
Sgt. Crowley teaches a class on racial profiling to police officers. A fellow black instructor told the Boston Herald: "He's a very professional police officer and he's a good role model. Former police commissioner Ronny Watson, who is a person of color, hand-picked Sgt. Crowley. ... I presume because he would be the most qualified and most professional. He's a very good instructor. He gets very high reviews by the students." Obama and his Harvard professor buddy should take advantage of the "teachable moment" by enrolling in Crowley's class. If they can pass the test on what constitutes racial profiling and apologize to a good cop, then they can buy him a beer.
If I'm giving the impression that the President of the United States is acting stupidly, let me calibrate my words. He is.
Jan LaRue is an attorney and a frequent contributor to American Thinker. Her husband is a retired cop -- a retired, insulted cop.